The Wii U, it's fair to say, is currently enjoying its most positive spell of coverage and attention since it launched, with strong sales numbers for Mario Kart 8 combining with an excellent E3 showing to deliver some serious buzz. Perhaps unsurprisingly it's all about first-party games and products, with some other titles developed elsewhere but published by the Kyoto company.
Nintendo of America executive VP of sales and marketing, Scott Moffitt, has been discussing just that topic with gamesindustry.biz, emphasizing that he feels the company's line-up will drive consumers off the fence and into stores, equating it to a similar turnaround with 3DS — albeit acknowledging that the system's price cut also played a role.
We had the price cut in August , and then we had Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, which really drove sales that first holiday, and on 3DS we haven't looked back. So we've had momentum ever since that first holiday and we've got now 260 some games in the library and some of the best, most highest rated, most highest quality content we've ever had on that platform. Everything we launched seems to do above forecast and surprises us on the positive side.
As I look at what we have coming this holiday, now with Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, plus the innovation of Amiibo, I think we are right at that tipping point where we have a lot of great content that is about to be released for that platform that's going to tempt gamers into buying the system. From the comments I'm reading online, and following gamers' comments, I think there are a lot of people that are going to have a hard time resisting buying a Wii U once Smash Bros comes out. I think that's going to be a major hardware driver for us. So that's the narrative we hope that plays out and that I think we are starting to see play out.
Moffitt also acknowledges that it's Nintendo's responsibility to sell units and make support from third-parties financially viable, while also referring to a "steady flow" of third-party download content. One other major topic addressed was the GamePad, though given Nintendo's focus on the controller at E3, his answers regarding its fate with the Wii U are entirely unsurprising.
We think [the] GamePad is the only innovation that's come in this new generation of consoles. So we have the only real point of difference. Certainly graphics are faster, graphics are better. This is not a real innovation for gamers. We are fully committed to leveraging the GamePad, to keeping it bundled with the system.
We recently outlined what we felt were the biggest retail games coming in 2014, hopefully demonstrating that there's plenty on the way in Fall and Winter, in particular. Are you confident that Wii U is at a 'tipping point' ahead of strong sales?