News Article

Feature: Why Nintendo Isn't Popular in Poland

Posted by Rob Burgess

Rob Burgess explains how a country with 40 million people has been missed

Earlier this year we posted an article based on a Nintendo fan's blog, which explained how difficult it was to buy a Wii U in Poland, a large European country. Rob Burgess, the author of that blog, has since written a follow up article in which he explains in a little more detail why Nintendo's fortunes in the country are as poor as they are at present. With reports of hugely expensive potential costs for Wii U consoles in Brazil and some experiences of others in the Nintendo Life community having problems acquiring Nintendo games and systems, we feel this provides a valuable perspective of gaming life away from so-called 'major' markets.

Rob Burgess has kindly agreed to us reproducing an edited version of his article below.

A couple of months ago, I posted an article about my attempts to track down a Wii U in Poland and the numerous barriers I came across while doing so. It was intended as a fun little story — a humorous anecdote to add a bit of flavour to the site.

To my surprise, Nintendo Life, one of the biggest Nintendo websites in the world, later got hold of the story and used it as the basis for one of their articles. To my even bigger surprise, a lot of people then read my article and commented on it, saying that I hadn’t painted the whole picture (I hadn’t been intending to) or that — more worryingly — I hadn’t done the research.

Today, I’m hoping to re-address these issues.

I’m going to assume at this stage that you’ve already read that first article. You already know that the shops here in Poland are empty of Nintendo products. You know that the TV is utterly devoid of adverts and that Nintendo brand recognition is borderline zero among all but the most well-informed members of the gaming community. You also know that Poland itself is a growing market in the EU with a huge number of potential customers who are currently going untapped by Nintendo and are therefore forced to choose between Sony and Microsoft to satisfy their gaming needs.

The question we’re going to ask today is, why? Here, in no particular order, are my top five reasons why Nintendo is so unpopular in Poland.

1. Localisation Issues

Translating anything, let alone something as huge and complex as a computer game, costs money. A lot of money. Any company wanting to do business in a new market has to weigh-up the costs of said translation against any potential profits gained by distributing in this region.

On paper, at least, you can certainly see that Polish is a somewhat niche language to be translating your game into. After all, when your choice is between Polish (spoken by around 40 million people worldwide) and French (spoken by around 300 million people worldwide in about 30 different countries) of course you’re going to prioritise the latter. It’s business and it’s logical, no matter how much it might annoy you.

Except… someone seems to have forgotten to give the likes of Sony, Microsoft and EA the memo…

Here are two facts to mull over for a moment:

Fact #1: Nintendo products are never translated into Polish.

Fact #2: Major releases on Sony and Microsoft’s systems are almost always translated into Polish (and yes, that includes games from EA, a company which is often lambasted for how lazy it is when porting software).

Now, let’s be honest here. When it comes to choosing between playing a game in your mother tongue or playing it in a foreign language, I’m pretty sure that 99% of us would opt for the ease of playing in their mother tongue to scrabbling around with a dictionary trying to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing. Games are meant to be fun, after all, and there are few things in life less fun than not having a clue what’s going on.

This is particularly important when you factor in games which are released on multiple platforms. After all, for a game like Pokémon, people might be willing to overlook the translation issues simply because it's only available on Nintendo systems. However, things become a little muddier when you turn your attention to multi-platform games…

Like Assassin’s Creed III, for example. Available on all major platforms in English, but if you want the Polish language version, it has to be on the PS3 or Xbox 360.

The Nintendo version instantly becomes the inferior one, simply because it’s the only one that isn’t in your mother tongue.

2. Cultural Issues

This one is a little harder to explain and it requires a brief history lesson.

You see, Poland spent a large part of the 20th Century firmly under Russia’s Iron Curtain. It only opened up to free trade with the rest of the world in 1991 and even then, the Polish economy was a wreck. Production was down, unemployment was a problem for the first time in its history, nothing was available in the shops, the currency was hit by rampant hyperinflation and there was martial law. The country was a mess!

It wasn’t until about the early 2000′s that the average Polish citizen could really afford a luxury commodity like a games console and, by the time this happened, Nintendo’s glory days were perhaps past (the Wii was yet to disrupt the market, Ed). Sony was the cool kid in town and Polish gamers everywhere flocked to the PlayStation brand.

That’s not to say that Nintendo products were unknown. Thanks to knock-off clone consoles like the Pegasus, the Polish public had a pretty good idea of characters like Mario and games like Tetris, but let’s not fool ourselves: these products were not Nintendo and there was little quality involved in their production.

But then something strange happened: in 2004, Poland joined the EU and pretty much overnight the country started to become rich. Not very rich, you understand, but rich enough that for the first time in over a century, Polish people had money in their pockets to burn.

And boy, did they burn it!

Now, I can’t give you any citations here, since this is purely my own observation of life in this country, but I have the impression that a lot of people in Poland are currently engaged in what can only be described as ‘a desperate race to catch up with the rest of the world’.

Everywhere you look, you see Polish people draping themselves in designer labels and driving the latest BMWs. They spend an absolute fortune (far more as a percentage of their income, in fact, than people in the UK do) on making sure they own the latest sound systems, widescreen TVs or iPhones. The really weird thing is that most people don’t seem to do this because they particularly like or need to own such things, but rather they feel they must own them. These items are expensive and thus, by owning them, they are declaring to the world that they are an important person who has made it big.

It’s like a form of cultural one-upmanship and it’s just one of those cultural quirks I’ve had to get used to while living here.

How does this effect Nintendo? Well, unfortunately, Nintendo’s business strategy for the last few years has been almost the exact opposite of what most Polish people are looking for. Nintendo tend to release deliberately underpowered consoles at a low price point. In the UK and the US — where spiralling debt means that budgeting is a big concern for most people — this is a policy that has, for the most part, worked.

In Poland, however, where people have more money than ever before and almost no debt to go along with it, the average gamer may simply look at this:

And then this:

And they will likely opt to buy the former simply because it’s looks better and must, therefore, be better.

It’s a cultural thing and, sadly, it leads directly to another issue...

3. Lack of Sentiment

I’m not going to lie: Nintendo means a lot to me. The SNES was my first console as a kid and Nintendo characters such as Mario and Link have been with me all throughout my life, decorating cakes at my birthdays and printed on T-shirts I wore to school.

Nintendo, in short, is my childhood and there are few things I love more than indulging in that nostalgia, revisiting the games I grew up with and remembering the good old times from my past. Whenever a new Mario or Zelda game comes out, it’s like seeing an old friend. Sure, that friend might have changed a little over the years. He’s changed his clothes and put on a bit of weight. He’s no longer the coolest kid on the block like he used to be, but so what? He’s my friend and seeing him never fails to make me smile.

As explained above, Polish people didn’t grow up with Nintendo like I did, and so they have no such sentimentality. These days, whenever they see a new Mario or Pokemon game, they see only a game aimed at children. An expensive game aimed at children too, especially when compared with the likes of Angry Birds. Who in their right mind, they ask, would want to buy such a thing?

And while we’re on the subject of price…

4. Higher Prices

Nintendo currently has no official distributor in Poland. Until about a year ago, it distributed its games through an Austrian company called Stadlbauer but this is no longer the case due to that company’s utter failure to make a profit while doing so.

As a result of this, Nintendo games come with a hefty price tag attached to them these days. Don’t believe me? Here’s a screenshot from showing the prices of Rayman Legends on all major platforms. As you can see, the Wii U version is 31% more expensive than the PS3 / 360 versions and a shocking three times more expensive than the PC version.

Knowing this, why would anyone choose to buy the Wii U version? Before you say it, I am well aware that the Wii U version is the so-called ‘definitive’ one, but good luck finding anyone in Poland who knows it. As already said, there is no advertising for Nintendo in this country — none — meaning that most consumers have only the final price to go on when making their decision. Yes, Polish people like to own the newest and best things, but that doesn’t mean they are suckers.

5. Lack of Market Penetration

At this stage, the writing is sadly on the wall for Nintendo regarding them making an impact in the Polish market. It’s like a vicious cycle: it can’t penetrate the market because it hasn't already penetrated it. As shown in the examples above, the hearts and minds of the Polish consumer simply haven’t been won over by Nintendo’s IP or its business strategy and, as such, it will be all the more hard for Nintendo to capture it in the future.

As Mikael Bourget of Polish developer QubicGames said in a recent interview with Nintendo Life:

From our personal experiences we can say that it is difficult to buy Nintendo hardware and software from big retailers. The availability is indeed very limited. However for true Nintendo fans it is perfectly possible to get the console and the games from Internet and from smaller games dedicated shops. Of course this isn’t helping to bring Nintendo to people not so familiar with the brand. And this makes a vicious circle as the consequences become the cause and vice versa. The market for Nintendo was always small in Poland.

‘Small’ is an understatement. At the time of writing, fewer than 400 Wii U’s have reportedly been sold in Poland. There is no Club Nintendo for Poland, you don’t receive Nintendo points for buying games in Poland and you can’t so much as register your Wii U as being in this country. As far as Nintendo is concerned, Poland might as well not exist.

Visit Nintendo’s site for Poland and you will see the following message:

Nintendo of Europe will restructure its operations in Poland with immediate effect. We wish to assure our consumers in Poland that we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that they will continue to have access to our usual consumer support services and meanwhile we will be urgently exploring new ways of bringing our products and experiences to the Polish market. A further announcement about this will follow in due course.

These words should be taken with a bucket of salt, however, since the website has been saying exactly this for the last six months now.

All of the above factors combine together to create a perfect storm of conditions which seem almost tailor-made to ensure that Nintendo fails in this country. You might argue (correctly) that Nintendo is focusing its attention right now on targeting markets in which it has a bigger chance of success. However, it doesn’t take a shrewd market analyst to tell you that simply abandoning a market to your competitors only means that your competitors will have more freedom within that market to capitalise on your absence.

And really, is that the Nintendo way: to give up? When the great Hiroshi Yamauchi first decided that Nintendo would stop producing cards and start producing consoles instead — in the middle of the biggest electronics crash America has ever seen, no less — was this a small idea or a safe business decision?

Yamauchi-san dreamt big and it was precisely by dreaming big that Nintendo became the household name it is today. It is only by tackling the cultural and business issues laid out above that Nintendo can ever hope of capturing this market, or any other emerging market for that matter. The world is much bigger than America and Japan these days and Europe is much bigger than the UK. I just wish Nintendo realised that fact.

We'd like to thank Rob Burgess for allowing us to reproduce this article from What do you think of the issues highlighted? Let us know in the comments below.

From the web

User Comments (113)



Kifa said:

I probably couldn't add anything to the above even if I tried. The situation of Nintendo here in Poland is a combination of negligence, adverse market conditions and local gamer mentality. Though I must say that a few of my friends are slowly becoming convinced that Nintendo is the way to go (despite the difficulties) when they are shown some unique games both 3DS and Wii U have to offer. And Pokemon, you can't forget that.

It just leaves me wondering - why Nintendo was never able to do what I've been doing with at least little success: convince people that gigabytes, teraflops and BluRay aren't everything?



ajcismo said:

Thanks guys, you & Mr.Burgess made me learn something today. In all seriousness, great article, big thumbs up.



moomoo said:

Not having stuff translated into Polish is enough reason for people to not want a game. I know I would rather play a game in English than any other language.



Genesaur said:

"... They will likely opt to buy the former simply because it looks better and must, therefore, be better." Because hurr-durr is how everyone thinks, these days.



ueI said:

Alright, now I'm confused. Why can't AC 3 WiiU be played in Polish if a Polish translation already exists? Batman is a similar head scratcher. Why not include the WiiU version in the ad if it can indeed be played on a WiiU in Poland? Oh, well, I'm pretty sure the Injustice ads made the same omission here where I live.
My final question-the one I think is most likely to get an answer-is what about the children? If Nintendo are perceived as kids' games in Poland, then surely kids will want a WiiU?



Worthy said:

I'm suprised at the translation issues as places like where i'm from (the UK) have alot of Polish people living there, so they should start adding Polish to all PAL games to be honest.



Fillytase said:

Thanks for writing this, Mr. Burgess. Very informative and interesting! An estimated 400 sold to date in a country of 40 million is a pretty shocking number.



Shiryu said:

I can definitely relate to this article, it has always been a uphill battle for Nintendo here in Portugal, but things are thankfully a lot better for the past few years. I hardly even buy games from Amazon or other UK e-Com retailers any more because It's no longer the only way to find them.



unrandomsam said:

@moomoo Depends - I know I would rather play the Japanese uncensored versions of the old Castlevania's. (Read a translation of the few lines of text when necessary). I skip cutscenes in most games anyway if i can. (I don't for RPG's).



Spoony_Tech said:

Good read! I think Nintendo is to focused on just trying to survive outside of Poland atm!



Heroboss said:

Not suprised with localisation issue. I'm currently studying in Prague and very few know how to speak english. I imagine it's the same case as in Poland.



Great_Gonzalez said:

Another reason why I'm thankful I was born in England I mean no disrespect but if I didn't have Nintendo in my childhood it would've been a pretty sad childhood! And I never even realised how the situation was in countries like Poland and other countries that are not considered major



Reynoldszahl said:

I cannot believe it that germany get so many games translated while other countries don't. I mean germany has a population of about 80 mill. France 60 and poland nearly 39mill. and while german is not a very common language it still gets games translated. I consider french,english and spanish as world languages. I still enjoy my games in english its a very practical and straight out language.



ikki5 said:


Well, I know a few people in Poland and they don't play any videos except for PC and barely know anything about any consoles. They don't even play that often and from what I understand, they don't really know many others that play video games or have consoles either.



Thejoe66 said:

Um Poland is not a Christian country there Catholic how do i know I from Poland
@ikki5 Yes Poland is more of a PC gaming country out of all the people i know only 1 has a PS3 while ever one has a desktop to game on



ikki5 said:


you make it sound like all 39 mil actually play video games. But to answer your question, four (three different households), Three in Warsaw and one in Lublin. I remember chatting with them when I got my Wii U, and they asked what it was so I told them Nintendo new console in which they said they don't really know much of any consoles as they are not really advertised or shown. I highly doubt there is a a lot of people that buy consoles there in general.



BakaKnight said:

Interesting article.

Few observations could be valid also for Italy, and I bet it is so even regarding some other European countries >.>;



SanderEvers said:

"Luckily" Nintendo started putting Dutch translations in Mario and Wii-series games.

(This is also why I've set my console's language to English, since I don't want Dutch translated games)



bmprsvz777 said:

It is almost impossible to buy Nintendo products in Poland and other east european countries, no consoles, no games... so I have to buy them in Belgium. Now about customer support... I ordered some items for my little son from Nintendo club. I had to do it through UK website because they DO NOT support my native country or my language. Nintendo withdrew 8500 starcoins from my account and confirmed my orders. They never arrived of course. So I complained to , no reply, no apology... My family owns nine nintendo consoles including three Wii-s and two Wii U-s and this is how they treat us... So my answer to your question - Why Nintendo Isn't Popular in Poland - is very simple, two words...



Wolfgabe said:

"And they will likely opt to buy the former simply because it’s looks better and must, therefore, be better." That's graphic craze logic right here

Watch the language -Lz



Thunderbird said:

"I’m pretty sure that 99% of us would opt for the ease of playing in their mother tongue to scrabbling around with a dictionary trying to figure out what they’re supposed to be doing" False. I could never play games in my mother tongue. I always choose English language because Finnish just doesn't look right in the game. Sure there are few exceptions like Scribblenauts but majority of my games I play with English language.
"Polish people didn’t grow up with Nintendo like I did" Ignorant much? That is so false.



Neram said:

Yeah, Metroid does look more fun... Oh, that's not the point he was making? I'm just kidding I see what he's saying. It's pretty depressing knowing that there's parts of the world where Nintendo doesn't exist. It's something that I think everyone knows, but nobody really stop to think about. All I know is that a country without Nintendo products would feel like a deserted, barren, hell on Earth. No offense, Poland.

Hopefully Nintendo strives for a more global approach in the future.



sinanziric said:

Hey No localisation for Ex-Yugoslavia 25 milion people there (Serbo-Croatian language)



NeoTechni said:

you say the lack of a Polish translation instantaneously makes it the inferior version but I say the lack of a trophy/achievement system already did that



Kifa said:

@ikki5 Well I live in Lublin actually, and I know at least 20 PS3 users, a few PSP and DS/DSi owners and three 3DS gamers (there's at least 5 more according to local 3DS tracking page, but never actually managed to SPass them, so...). At the last Deadly Serious Convention (polish community of Nintendo fans, broadly speaking) we had over one hundred 3DS users from accross the country, most of which were not even from our forums. And XBox 360 is massively popular among people I know.

Also there are huge banners for Playstation 3 and 4 in at least one big electronics store here. In Warsaw I noticed that in many places in just under two days of staying there (for the said convention). So I say - the people you know must be living under a rock or in a cave or something, and are not really representative of anything. Poland plays videogames, far more than you think, though I admit that PC gaming is prelevant here and I'm guilty of that pleasure myself.

Also to the author - one sentence, mentioning martial law, is a bit misleading as my friend pointed out. That happened in 1981 to 1983, a decade earlier and Poland was still a communist state back then.



Dave24 said:

When the first article was here few months ago, I totally ignored it, but now I can't... This guy, who says it's hard to find Wii U, is totally, utterly wrong. It is actually really easy, only thing you must do is... move from your house. Yes, it is not as available as Wii was (which disappeared year ago for some odd reason), but it is not that hard to find. It seems like it is not available in Poland, but it only looks that way, he didn't check every possibility. There are Wii Us in Media Markts and Toys'R'Us and the games too. Also there are a lot of internet shops that will be happy to deliver it to your house, and cheaper than importing it from UK.
Localisation is NOT a problem too, not at ALL. I mean, if that would've been a problem, then barely anyone would buy games on PS3 and 360. Oh yes, you can say "but FIFA! The Last of US!", yeah, have fun with Bugthesda games (the only one translated was FO3 for PS3, and that was really bad). But wait, there is more, if that would've been an issue, then barely any console would be sold, even 360 and PS3, because translations of games started coming something around 2009 - that's 3-4 years since 360 and PS3 launched, and first year 360 was selling like hot cakes. And especially nowadays it's not an issue, because now kids write better in English than in Polish, which is sad. Wait, I just tought of something - PS3 and 360 are the first platform that "embraced" polish translations, none of them were on any of the past consoles. And yet they were selling. Figure that out. There are still games that are not translated, and yet people are buying. So it's not a problem.

Also, I'm sorry, but is he serious with "As explained above, Polish people didn’t grow up with Nintendo like I did, and so they have no such sentimentality"? I guess he didn't grow up in Poland at all, because for most of us in Poland it actually was either Commodore with its tapes or Pegasus, which was actually advirtised in comic books and TV. And it was packed with lightgun, Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. I know, because that's how I've started my adventure with gaming. He even contradicts himself by saying that "polish people didn't grow up with Nintendo games" and before that saying "there was pegasus". And on the photo it's later model, from around 1995 from what I can remember, I've had older one, which looked like toploader. Also, of course Mario and Pokemon are potrayed as games for children, because that what they are - games for children that adults can enjoy too.

Even IF Nintendo would hit the market now, it would've been to late, because finally MS and Sony made Poland their home. There are more games, cheaper too, and biggest sellers. Most dismiss Mario, because kids like GTA5 more. Actually, if Nintendo would hit the scene in Poland, they would end up like comic book publishers. Limited releases, no re-releases, obscure, rare and you would have to pay arm and a leg for it.



Kifa said:

@Dave24 It's not hard to find a WiiU? Really? Because I've visited every single electronics store in Lublin over the past year to see if any carried Wii U's (I bought mine over Internet, but it never hurts to do some reconnisance, does it?) and guess what? None of them did, does or is planning to do. And Lublin is a regional capital (some people here might not know that).

Maybe in Warsaw, sure, but not anywhere else I've seen Nintendo hardware on the shelf. Not only that, I can't find a single piece of software in any of the stores here.

As for "not growing up with Nintendo" - I think he meant the generation of gamers that is most active right now. People aged 15-20 (a wild guess that's the correct range here) don't remember Pegasus at all...



Dave24 said:

@Kifa I'm from Gdansk, and I've found it near Auchan, in Toys'R'Us. As for MM, it is available in Szczecin, Bydgoszcz, Rzeszow, just to name a few.
Maybe you are right with that 15-20 age range, but me and my friends grew up with it, so stating that "Polish people didn’t grow up with Nintendo" is wrong.



SCAR said:

Hopefully Nintendo can get their way into Poland. If the Brazilian localization of the Wii U is true, perhaps Nintendo is trying to expand to the best of their ability. Once Wii U's are more common in an area, the Polish language as an option will probably come along with it.

That's just what I figure.



KTT said:

@ueI If they knew about Wii U then maybe they would like to play it. But they don't. And you should add to this that kids these days grows/has grown up on Playstation games. When Nintendo franchises are unknown for them, and when they see franchises made for PS, they will pick the PS one. Because it was tested, they know what to expect, and because of nostalgia. If you ask me - I don't care about Nintendo. I care more about Playstation. I don't have the system because it's too expensive for me and I don't play games that much anymore. I do have 3DS, but for one major reason - pokemon (which I'm forced to import anyways). (I must admit that 3DS is pretty good system and it does get good games/apps)



Affwk said:

Well, I'm from Poland, and there's an issue that you didn't say in you article- everyone in PL just thinks Nintendo sucks. When I say I like Nintendo (Well, I'm a huge fan of it), everyone just says I'm stupid. Children here are playing GTA or CoD (well, not only here, but that's not the problem) and if you come with a Mario or Zelda, they will think of you as someone sick. Nintendo doesn't want to be in Poland because it won't sell. It's not their fault.



KTT said:

@Affwk Not quite. It's a vicious circle. People don't buy Nintendo because they don't know about it. Nintendo doesn't do advertisements/etc because people in Poland don't buy Nintendo.
If Nintendo did the job done in the past, today we could have a loyal fan base, just like in UK. But it didn't and it fails to gain trust those whose already bought their systems.



Luko20 said:

Thank you for this, NintendoLife! Maybe Nintendo will see the problem. It's annoying to be a big Nintendo fan in a place where most of people around you remember Mario as a silly, simply and poor game, don't know much (or anything) about Zelda and do not have any Big N console. Or have Wii and hate on it, with playing only Wii sports. It's a pity when I see shops in Deutchland full of Nintendo content, even used games and consoles to try... To buy Zelda WW HD I had to go to a small shop, somewhere deep in Warsaw. I'm afraid that it is one of two places in this huge city (about 2 milion citizens) where you can get this game. One positive thing is that my SM Galaxy platinum soundrack arrived, but I knew that I play a game when I was ordering it. Some people got their items, some didn't, others after a few months.

Lack of advertisment, distribution. There are about 2000 WII Us in Poland (Staulbauler mentioned i article abandoned Poland in February and shipped only few consoles). There were rumors (or facts) about 15 consoles for Media Markt (in Warsaw or whole country) for launch. Silly? Yes!



element187 said:

I understand you are mad, but you said it yourself, there is only 40 million people in Poland. How many are gamers and how many potential customers do you think Nintendo can realistically pick up there? It doesn't seem like its a good deal for Nintendo to even try.

The amount of money they would spend on advertisements probably would swallow all the profits they could make in Poland. I can't fault a company for not wanting to lose a stack of money to an audience that is apathetic towards Nintendo. Reading your article has me convinced that it would be a net loser for Nintendo to try and get Polish gamers on board.



Luko20 said:

Guy, don't lie. You can get a Nintendo game maybe in only one-three Media markts in Warsaw, but only NSMBU, Nintendo land, ewentually Tekken, Mass Effect or Sing party. Everything for about... 200 zloty (50 euro). No distribution, no new games. Those are only some left, unsold software (in horrible prices). Toys R us probably has some Wii Us in probably extremaly high prices. And polish online stores are worse than anything. Pikmin 3 preordered! Yay! Can't wait! What?! it will arrive next week?! That is how it looks.



Dezsi said:

I also live in an eastern European country, Hungary, and Nintendo has been around since the fall of the iron curtain, and like others noted above, localization can't be an issue. We have a population of 10 million, and games will never be translated into our language, yet people play video games extensively without much (or an adequate level of) knowledge of English. On the other hand, I suppose that FPS games or sports games — games that are NOT looked on as kiddy or silly anywhere — have a lot less text, and can be fully enjoyed without speaking English, therefore, EA translating the games mentioned above is simply a nice bonus, not much more.

So I think that it must be the Polish mentality, the "cultural issue", why it's kind of hard to procure Nintendo products — they don't really know about them, or consider them kiddy, silly, immature, but everyone knows that that attitude is present everywhere, it's just that it must be very pronounced in Poland, and that's why it's possible that Nintendo consoles and games have always been present where I live, even though we're a much smaller market (and we have about the same GDP per capita as Poland does), so it CAN'T be about the size of the population.
Of course, since the appearance of the PlayStation, much like everywhere else, Nintendo has always been under-represented in stores, but it's still there. We actually have a number of small video game specialist stores, so there are a lot of choices to buy Nintendo products, although I'm well aware that most people just don't buy them, but Nintendo has survived here so far.

As for the lack of online country settings for the Wii and the Wii U is very much annoying, yes. I have to set my country to the UK (so that it's in English), and no physical items can be bought for stars, only digital downlads, but that's not such an issue, really. At the same time, to my surprise, an official Hungarian Nintendo website has surfaced about a half a year ago, which is really weird, considering that Nintendo's not very popular here either, but still, there must be a reason why Nintendo's doing something here and not in Poland, for instance.



The_Fox said:

I always find it interesting to read about the differences in gaming in different countries so hopefully we'll see more articles like these.



SuperKMx said:

@Reynoldszahl German is spoken in places other than Germany, though. Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg come to mind. Austria and Switzerland are another combined 15million+ speakers, and add around 500,000 more for Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.



belmont said:

I read in the article that after Poland joined the EU they started to have lots of money, not knowing what to do with them and end up buying useless stuff and expensive cars. This reminds me the situation Greece is facing and I would recommend extra caution since the same think happened here the previous years.

As for localization only EA, Sony and the people behind Pro localize games here.

Sony even has Greek voices on games like the recent God of War and some PSP games aimed at kids. Pro 14 also has Greek voices on PS3,PS2,PSP,PC and 360.



thanos316 said:

who cares if it isnt popular in poland. i just beat xenoblades.. yes finally. i know its been out for a while. but ive been without my wii for 9 months. i put many hours into that game. Xenoblades is one of the best games ive ever played..



HopeNForever said:

Not saying this is necessarily a good thing, but I'm feeling a lot better now to learn that I'm not alone in regards of local commercial and consumer recognition of Nintendo's products, and being a Nintendo fan in the midst of an emerging market. Whilst there are a lot of similarities in regards to Nintendo's situation in here in the United Arab Emirates, I cannot stay lack of stock is one of the problems though, but the full story is rather more complicated than that, in which explaining it would require an article in itself. Nintendo's official local distributors thankfully still exist, and there is a significant retail demand for Nintendo's products to warrant continuing selling their products as long as they deem. Thank goodness for that, but I'm personally still unsatisfied about it, and not to mention there is quite a lack of background information. I wish someone would write a similar article about being a Nintendo fan where I reside momentarily.



gojiguy said:

Wow. This is nuts. The funny thing is, Nintendo products are WIDELY available directly below and beside Poland. Germany has many Nintendo products readily available at all major electronics outlets (and the Wii U saw good success there and in France due to Monster Hunter- weird, huh?).

Head down to Czech Republic and the Wii U is in all DATART and major electronics retailers. In fact, when I visited Prague Nintendo had Wii U experience tents and lots of demo kiosks in malls. They even had a huge Mario statue in from of Paladium! I lived in Czech Republic while the Wii U launched and I gotta say while it wasn't the -greatest- marketing effort they definitely made themselves known and were easily available from any store.



Dave24 said:

@Luko20 You say don't lie and do exact opposite. Where was that week wait? And also... horrible prices? Oh, I'm sorry, but 200 pln, considering that PS3/360 can start from 219 makes them even more evil? I don't get it. Oh, and also Wii U games are suppoused to be more expensive than PS3/360 games, and that's actually Nintendo decision, so you should consider that too.
And that "high" price, as you say, in T'R'S, last time I was there was... 1489, 99. And that was before the price cut Nintendo did now. Now you can buy it with WW HD for 1399 without that much of a problem on the web



MAB said:

This didn't seem to stop the Wii/DS/3DS from outselling the competition now did it... The gaping holes in journalism nowadays is enough to make heads explode



MAB said:

@Dave24 Nintendo seems to be able to outsell without the need of 3rd party support anyway... You make-a-no-sense mate



Dave24 said:

@MadAussieBloke As stated in this article, there is no Nintedo "branch" of publishing in Poland, so it would be hard for them to publish their console. It was published by Stadlbauer. They are their publisher/importer in Poland



Luko20 said:

I have preordered on

200 pln is a high price for launch titles. NintendoLand is an addition to every standard, black bundle. It should cost far less. About 140, maybe. Okay, it is not the main problem. The main problem is that there are only about 4-5 titles (not the most important). Nothing good about it. No new games. Okay, I haven't been to toys r us since Wii U launch.

The difference beetwen buying in Poland and in Deutchland is that in Deutchland I come to, for example Saturn, whenever I want, choose from old classics for any N console, used games (in Gamestop), new titles in good prices (usually 160-180 pln) on LAUNCH DAY, tons of pheripheals, and can try games on consoles. In Poland I see 5 old games and that's it! See the difference?



MAB said:

@Dave24 The point is they don't need the Polish market anyway... This is just another 'WiiU isn't selling and this is why' article



Dave24 said:

@Luko20 Now I get your point, but why it should cost lest, when it costs the same anywhere else? And as I've said earlier, the higher price is Nintendo decision. And they are dropping prices slowly, unlike Ubisoft. But if you really want to know, you can buy Nintendo Land for even less than you've said, actually. You can find it for 119 zl. How about that?
Also remember that just now the games for Wii U started coming, with likes of Pikmin and TW101

@MadAussieBloke oh, you had that in mind. You are right




So what country is Poland a part of again? Very astute observations here, I liked this article.

On topic: Funny how saying 'polish' is different from saying 'Polish' when they are spelled the same.



GeminiSaint said:

"And really, is that the Nintendo way: to give up?"
To be fair, right now Nintendo isn't in a position where it can afford taking risks. It's a known fact the Wii U is performing under expectations in all markets, and that's simply a much more urgent problem to solve.



SebCroc said:

That's really a shame. I lived in Poland for the first 7 years of my life and have now lived a bit over 9 years in Australia, where Nintendo is clearly distinguishable. During my first year in Australia I was introduced to Nintendo and fell in love instantly, wondering why I hadn't heard of it before.
Earlier this year I went over to Poland for 7 weeks and found not a hint of any Nintendo products. At least now I know why :/



Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

@Spoony_Tech I know you were half joking, but it's never a question of whether Nintendo is in trouble or not. What people occasionally question are their home consoles. They always have money in the banana stand aka games and handhelds.



unrandomsam said:

@MadAussieBloke Not the goal of this type of journalism. (Why it repeats everything and uses 6 articles instead of one useful one) More comments more ad impressions. Sad but true. Notice how the ones that get the most comments are the ones that are repeated within a short period.



Artwark said:

You think Poland is worse to not get much of Nintendo? Wait till you go to places like India where I live! No one there knows much of Nintendo nor even cares. And the worst part is that there's no service there in India, so I have to force myself to get another unit just so I can play again which is difficult so I try to take good care of my stuff as much as possible.



DualWielding said:

One factor that was not mentioned in the article is the lack of account system, in countries like these people recurr to digital because physical games are hard to find and when you find them are ridiculous expensive but if your consoles breaks and you are in a country where Nintendo has no operations you are screwed...,. That's what people not understand when they defend lack of account system with "just send your console to Nintendo, Nintendo costumer service people are so nice.." that only applies if you are in one of the main countries where Nintendo has operations



VeeFlamesNL said:

@kishimi8 Which country, Nigeria?
I live in Nigeria, Africa, and had my Wii U sent from the US. Now...
1. I went to the mall recently to watch a movie. In the cinema, My eyes spotted a small shop, selling games. They had a Wii U. But no Wii U games at all! Worse, they had the latest PS3 and X360 games there! EVEN WORSE, I went to another part of the mall. THEY HAD THE GTA5 PS3 Bundle!! Current everything, 'cept the 2008/2009 Wii games and 3DS launch games! Oh, and the Wii U cost... $600.
2. As we all know, Wii U is region-locked. Problem arises here. Nigeria usually sells UK products and only in few cases will they sell a US product, and my U is US. I see a very good game. But it's for UK Us only. No problem with the 3DS since I have both US and UK systems.
3. The only places you can TRY to get games for your Ninty systems are second hand shops, even for cheap prices. Then again, It's still harder to find games, at least harder then PS3/X360.
Don't have much time for adding more deets. Maybe Ninty should have a market here?



Nintend0ro said:

It's not just Poland, but entire Eastern Europe is unfamiliar with anything Nintendo, not even DS family. Console market there is very unpopular. Almost every gamer plays pirated games on PCs and some on 360s. Not many out there can afford console games due to their high price. You can get a bunch of PC games (mainly illegal copies) for that price. Here in UK I can afford a Wii U console and a couple of games for a weeks payment, there I could only afford a game for a weeks payment. Big difference huh? Plus, Nintendo is avoiding Eastern Europe. No marketing there at all.



Ferret said:

The closest thing to an FPS on the Wii U is actually an FPS.

How about Zombie U? Call of Duty?



Luko20 said:

Just now games started coming? But what if there isn't any Nintendo distributor? Shops can't get games. Those small can't usually quickly. I wanted to buy a WW HD in a small gaming shop, but their copies arrived about 4 days later.

I already have NL (with my Wii U), but I give it as an example, beaceuse Sony games have smarter prices. But as I said. If there were games prices would be problems, but there aren't. Those small shops (maybe 1 really good in Warsaw) has quiet good prices.... of games from 4-5 short shelves.



iceyfre5004 said:

This is a very similar problem to what South Africa is facing, Wii Us havnt sold very well here(mostly because there is hardly any advertising here which is supposed to be done by Nintendo of South Africa which is made up by the distribution company) and so the distribution company Core Group that distributes Nintendo products here have given it low priority. As one of only a few Wii U owners in the country it is getting harder and harder to get hard copy games for the system usually delayed for months or with no estimated time of arrival.



TSlupek said:

I'm from Cracow (PL). I've got a 3DS since the launch and it's a great system for me (Zelda, MHU3, FE, DQ, Layton, Ghost Recon etc.), and my 2 daughters (Cooking Mama, Animal Crossing, Marios, etc.). New games come to market faster than I'm able to play them. It's easy to buy new games if you already have the system (digital download via Eshop, internet shops), live in a big city and know where to look for them. BUT if you don't have a Nintendo console, it's almost impossible to realize that it even exists. No presence in supermarkets, no TV ads, no McDonalds happy meal toys. At the same time PS and XBOX are everywhere.
I've bought a 3DS as a gift for my friend's daughter and it eats dust, because her parents don't know where and which games to buy.
So I agree with the 5 reasons you've given here, but I think poor/no marketing is the main reason. Lets take android tablets as a sample: It's a new product, so there's no sentiment for good old days. It's expensive, but sells well, because you can see them in each store, see ads in almost every newspaper and TV station. Mobile games are "simple and silly" but many many children love them, etc. So there is a hope, but NINTENDO - YOU HAVE TO ACT!
Of cource you have to know that we have the so called "Poland A" (rich cities) and "Poland B" (poor towns and villages). Nintendo is an option for Poland A only. Poland B plays pirated games on PC and android phones and would never buy a game that costs 180 PLN (~55 USD).



Nikomajor said:

Same problem has happened to me. I recently got a 3DS XL and nobody knows about it. My brothers want to buy a Wii U but the only place we can buy it is way overpriced(about x3)



TSlupek said:

@Luko20 Polish small shops buy games in Germany or from Amazon UK. There's no Nintendo distributor that pokes them and pushes new titles on the shelves.
If you go to "best" Nintendo shops in Warsaw (capital city!!!) you'll see 20 3DS games and 50 DS titles (new and used). In Cracow you have to divide it by half, and if you go to a supermarket, you divide it by 20. I've been to US GameStop a few times and I was shocked. A whole WALL of Nintendo titles, (in the "Noname Town"!!!) with prices between 10 and 30 USD. What a dream...



Fafulec said:

I am also from Poland. Writing this to support and not much to add, because most of the points in this article are vaild.



Luko20 said:

50 DS titles... Maybe 30-40 in the best shop with Nintendo content. But what titles? Only pokemon and casual s**t. No metroid, Zelda, yoshi, kirby and more... I have Luigi's Mansion 2 box in Deutch, beaceuse one shop (which strive to have the best libray of Nintendo games, only one shelve, but without crap) ships games from Deutchland. I know about this "second hand" distribution. Beaceuse of this, games usually don't arrive on launch day.



sanitariusz said:


Warsaw, Poland

Hellllloooo? Does anyone know where a guy can get a Wii-U around here?!

I have around 100 3DS and 25 Wii U games and only a few are from Polish distribution. All other are from Amazon UK.
How much I paid for my Wii U? Almost $ 600. This is Nintendo in Poland.



wiiucompl said:

Thank you. It's the best analyse of Nintendo situation in Poland.
I have my blog ( about Wii U for almost a year and it's not easy to explain always problems with Nintendo products in Poland.

Some additional information
1. Poles spend money on the latest games and consoles. They need to know about them. No advertising or lack of information or access in the shop - they choose another product.
2. Poles make up the mass of good games for other platforms

The Witcher 1/2/3,
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 1/2,
Call of Juarez,
Dead Island

3. The only game on the Wii U with Polish language (only subtitles) is a Resident Evil: Revelations (Thank you Capcom). But Poles are familiar with foreign languages. No native language in the game is not the biggest problem.
4. Poles are great players and they can become very attached to the products and series.

Nintendo wasted easy a great market.
Benefits go to Sony and Microsoft without any problems.



MAB said:

Sony & Microsoft can have that market because the PS360 needs another 20 million sales each to catch up to the old Wii



TSlupek said:

There are over 7 mld people on the Earth with 37 mln 3DS sold. It gives 1 console per each 200 people. 40 mln Poland should have ~200.000 consoles to be an average market. On most popular Polish 3DS forums ( and there are about 600-1600 users registered. Similar number (525) appears on the 3ds users map ( Some of them are "lost souls", some people have never registered, but this gives a rough estimate for 2000 consoles. 100 times less than the average



RJBurgess said:

@Dave24 Hi Dave24, I'm the guy who wrote the article you're commenting on. You're absolutely right when you say that you CAN find Nintendo products in Poland if you really set your mind to it. By using specialist suppliers and online services such as (an excellent stockist I stumbled upon recently in Katowice), you can get your hands on pretty much anything. The point, however, is that no one wants to! Nintendo simply isn't a household name here in Poland and the point of this article was to look into the reasons why that might be.

I'm not sure where you live in Poland but in the city where I am (Wroclaw), there are 3 Media Markts, 2 Saturns, 5 Empiks, 3 EUROs and 1 Toys R Us that I know of (there might be more). Trust me: I have checked each and every one of these shops in my hunt for Nintendo games. Of the shops listed above, all of them stock A LOT of Microsoft, Sony and PC products but only one of them stocks anything Nintendo-related, and that's in a Media Markt which isn't even inside Wroclaw's city limits but instead in Bielany Wroclawskie. You tell me if this isn't a problem.

Anyway, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. It's always nice to get people's views on this issue and (most importantly) to know that I'm not the only guy in Poland who owns a Wii U!



wiiucompl said:

3. Lack of Sentiment

It's true. But Nintendo should start in Poland now like with NES/SNES/Wii in other coutries other days. It's a good moment - before momentum of other nextgens - to show Wii U power with 180 ready to buy games and accesories.

3 days ago - in Wroclaw too - I asked a dealer in RtvEuroAgd in Wroclaw (Arcady) is any game or console of Nintendo (not only the Wii U). The answer was: "Unfortunately, but Warsaw (HQ of RtvEuroAgd) not ordered. However, there was several types of PS3, XBox360 in sets, Fifa14, CoDGhost and more for Sony and Microsoft.
Too bad.



Antisham said:

Brilliant article! Perfect to help with my essay on the international market trade of video games for college You can't please everyone, but i'm glad Nintendo are trying. It's what separates them from the rest of the sheep.



wiiucompl said:

You should care.
If 10.000 or 20.000 Wii U will be sold in Poland, this will have an impact too on the quantity and price of new games on this platform. Means you will be more happy. Maybe soon you'll play The Witcher on Wii U- made in Poland. 8-)



Luko20 said:

@jayclayx I imagine you as a typical American guy who don't know anything about the rest of the world... Witcher, does it say something to you? So many consumers that can buy N games. To prove my words, more than 100 000 gamers in Poland bought GTA V.
How poor is Italy with Club Nintendo and Italian language in games...



ueI said:

@Luko20 I haven't been to Italy, but every game I've bought in Europe has had an Italian translation.



Luko20 said:

I know it and I said it. Italia is not poor, beaceuse they have translation and other thing.



matirishhh said:

I live in Poland and own Wii, 3DS and WIIU.
Truth is that people here don't even know what Nintendo advertising...and people would definitely buy the consoles if they knew about the existence of it. Almost every kid owns a strong PC rig or X360...but none play or have any knowledge about Nintendo.
In fact I'm 29, have lots of friends and none of them own a Nintendo console...and people here are mental into gaming me

Oh and get this, the biggest gaming magazine in Poland always complain about the lack of support from Nintendo...They never get games for reviews for free, they actually have to import everything from the bad does that sound?

Other and maybe most important thing are the prices...
I buy games in the UK because they are cheaper!
I know plenty of people who also buy games in the UK...rates over here all crazy..
So that 400 WIIU concoles sold here are not a surprise. People with some brain got the concole in the UK for 30-40% you can add a higher number to the overall quantity of units sold....

BTW- Very nice read! Quite accurate as well



Kolzig said:

This is an excellent article and I wish a similar article would be made about the Nordic countries and especially Finland...

It needs a lot more vocal attention how much Nintendo neglecting so many countries in Europe.

We also have no Club Nintendo and never have had one, we also have an almost not existing Nintendo presence here compared to the other consoles. Nintendo does not have an office in the Nordic countries and instead has given the rights to two bad performing companies, first it was Bergsala AB since the 80's, then it gave the distributing rights in the Gamecube era to Amo oy , a toy company in Finland and just this or last year the rights reverted back to Bergsala. Also the pricing is insane and there is no control about how the retailers can price the consoles and games.

For example now that the very exciting Wii U Premium set with Mario U and Luigi U came last Friday to sale in Europe, it has been advertised NOWHERE in Finland. I checked quite a wide range of brick&mortar retailers and net shops on Friday and only two shops started to sell it and those are both internet shops! The pricing also ranges between 320-340€ even though the normal price should be 299€.



Nukarmer said:

Ukraine here. East of Poland. West of Russia. around 45 million people, too. the situation with Nintendo is even worse.



Bialutki said:

@ikki5 please `_`
The Witcher 1,2 and 3 are come from Poland, Cyberpunk 2077, Dead Island, Bulletstorm and others great games. So think befor You tell stupid think...
Let's not with racial slurs please — TBD



Bialutki said:

We in Poland had an Pegasus (pegazus) it was like NES because it was running games the same games what was is the NES. So We had NES, but in difrent "plastic box".



kishimi8 said:

@VolcanoFlames im also from nigeria, abuja, .. Got mine sent also from the us , though i bought it online. sometimes it gets soo frustrating , every game i own was imported , and it has always been the same crap since my gamecube days ,,

just ordered my 3ds yesterday,



VeeFlamesNL said:

@kishimi8 Yeah.. I'm currently living in Ogun State. I get my games from various places in Lagos, and have some of my games come from the US.
There are still some other problems, like I hinted in my last post. You should know about the power supply issue here. But what bugs me most is the fact that you never see current Nintendo games here, only Sony and Microsoft. Doesn't really make sense...
Ah, yes! You could try an online store in Naija here called Topdowndeals.



gingerskipper said:

I am from Poland and my kid has wii now. We have things like ; ; etc and I buy wii stuff there. I really do not want to go anywhere to buy cds now. I have no time for this. For me wii console is very childish but there are a lot of games with pets, my doughter likes it. I was playing a lot of nintendo 8 bit videogames in pubs may years ago in Poland after shool. This is ambarasing when you try to feel better saying not true things about Poland here.



KulexPL said:

#PolskaPrzejmujeNintendoLife In POland nintendo is popular only in lobby of people, who have family in Western Europe or they were curious what nintendo realy is. Poles thing that Nintendo is for little children, beacuse Poles prefer Call of Duty or sth like that. The next problem is in the Distribution to major electronics stores. If you looking for a WiiU or 3DS, you should look for it in a little stores. It's a problem when you are in a little city. But I'm hopefull that Nintendo will be in Poland more appreciated. Greetings from Poland !

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