Nintendo and the Wii U Are Not Doomed, That is Ridiculous
The Wii U has some glaring issues, but is by no means a failure yet.
Ever since Nintendo announced that the company would be lowering their sales forecast of the Wii U and 3DS, a lot of gamers around the net have been claiming Nintendo is “doomed” and are trying to say that Nintendo is doing awful as a company. I have read some of the most ridiculous claims such as, Nintendo needs to scrap the Wii U and release a new console, all the way to Nintendo needs to go third party. These suggestions make little sense and obviously come from people that truly don’t understand how the gaming industry works. If you think Nintendo is bleeding money or is in anyway hurting for cash, you are dead wrong.
This is a topic that really makes me question if gamers have any idea how the gaming industry works. It seems to be a trend lately that console sales numbers determine if a game console is successful, and while that number is important, it is only a fraction of the final result if a console is considered successful.
Let’s start off with the big reason people are saying Nintendo is doomed, the Wii U sales. The Wii U is not performing well at all, and in numerous ways is a failing product, but there is a huge difference between a failing product and a product being called a flat out failure. The Wii U has had a rough time, there is no denying that. Even Nintendo has admitted that the system has not performed anywhere close to their forecasts, but that doesn’t mean that the Wii U can’t become a product that people want to have in their homes.
Nintendo is no stranger to producing a product that was a disappointment. The Virtual Boy was an utter failure, and still stands as one of the worst ideas in video game history. The story of this console shows that from the start, Nintendo should have known the idea was going to be unsuccessful. In fact, the designer of the Virtual Boy, Gunpei Yokoi, never intended for the Virtual Boy to go to market, but Nintendo insisted on making it a real product to sell to consumers. We all know how that turned out.
The Wii U will not be a failure like the Virtual Boy, plain and simple. The reason the Virtual Boy was so disastrous was because it wasn’t a good product. It had unproven technology combined with a physical design that made gaming harder than it needed to be. The idea of having to look into this goggle like device, only to see red and black while getting a headache, was a bad design from the beginning. Why Nintendo thought it was a good idea gamers will never truly know, but you have to give them credit for taking a risk in a market where not a lot of risks are ever taken.
The Wii U is a product that has some flaws in it’s marketing and messages. Even the name Wii U is causing a lot of confusion with the average consumer, but the actual hardware is not anything that will cause the Wii U to ultimately fail. Nintendo is having a tough time figuring out how to sell the Wii U to a market that doesn’t fully understand it, then combine that will Nintendo having issues themselves even utilizing the console to its full potential. Nintendo screwed up in many areas with the Wii U, but it is obvious that they are going to stick to their investment and turn the Wii U into a financial success.
Nintendo has yet to bring their major titles to the Wii U. When Mario Kart 8 hits stores it will sell Wii U consoles.
Nintendo’s biggest problem with the Wii U is software. Still, after almost a year and a half of the console being on the market, we haven’t seen a steady flow of good content hit the system. It is actually puzzling why the Wii U lineup is so scarce when it comes to real first party content. When you take a look at all of the first party titles from Nintendo, it is shocking to see so little. There are some great games on the Wii U, such as Super Mario 3D World and Pikmin 3, but there still isn’t a real system seller.
Now before people cry out that Super Mario has always been a strong seller, that is true statement to some degree , but the 3D Mario games do not sell anywhere near the numbers the 2D Mario games sell. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 together equal about 18 million in sales, but New Super Mario Bros Wii sold about 28 million alone.
Mario is a title that will always sell, but you have to get people to buy a system for other than Mario. That is where other games like Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, and Animal Crossing come in. The lineup of Nintendo titles is what sells the system, and we have yet to see a lot of the major first party mascots from Nintendo hit the Wii U. Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Brothers are two of Nintendo’s biggest IP’s, and both will be hitting the Wii U in 2014. Mario Kart has always been not only a system seller, but one of the top selling games of all time. Mario Kart Wii has sold almost 35 million copies by itself, and Super Smash Bros. Brawl passed the 12 million mark during the life cycle of the Wii. When Mario Kart 8 hits in May, you better believe people are going to buy a Wii U. Is Nintendo suddenly going to sell another 20 million Wii U’s? Not even close, but you will see a nice pickup in sales. Especially if Nintendo does some sort of Mario Kart bundle which will make it even easier for consumers to jump in.
It is easy for gamers to look at a console, see the sales numbers, and call out that it’s a failure, but it seems like gamers always forget that Nintendo makes some of the best software in the world, and not only that, but Nintendo has some the highest selling software ever in the history gaming.
Nintendo is arguably the most successful publisher on the planet, and holds 20 spots in the top 35 highest selling games of all time.
Just to put something’s in perspective of how important software sales truly are when talking about Nintendo, let’s take a look at some of the best selling games of all time. Nintendo has sold 35 million copies of Mario Kart Wii, which was only available for the one console. That number alone is mind blowing, but how about when you compare it to one of the biggest franchises in the world, Call of Duty? Mario Kart Wii has sold more than any Call of Duty title to date, which also has the advantage of being on more than one platform.
Here is an even more staggering number. Out of the top 35 games that have sold the most copies ever, Nintendo holds 20 spots on that list, and 19 of those titles on that list from Nintendo were only available on a single platform. Think about that for one second. While games like Call of Duty boast with their 25 million copies sold of a certain game that is available on 3 or more platforms, Nintendo is able to sell more copies of their first party franchises for a single platform. That is truly impressive.
When you look at those numbers you can start to understand why Nintendo insists that their idea of producing hardware for their software is a strategy they are going to stick to. Nintendo has the benefit of not having to pay a dime to anyone else to bring their software to market. When they make a title they don’t have to worry about paying a publisher or have any of their profits taken from a hardware manufacturer like Sony or Microsoft. This is one of the single most important facts that people constantly forget. People claim that if Nintendo went third part they would see more software. That is nearly impossible to predict, but lets say that Mario Kart came to the Xbox and Playstation platforms, and we are going to assume that it sells 45 million copies to give this argument some fuel. After all everything that goes into being a third party publisher, Nintendo would make less money than they would of if they sold 35 million on their own console. You then can add other sources of revenue such as the virtual console, and you will see even more reasons for Nintendo to keep their own hardware.
Nintendo could of underestimated the time and cost that goes into HD game development.
This is my take on the entire situation. When the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 hit the market there was a ton of news of how HD development was insanely hard and costly due to having to buff up dev teams to make a game. I believe Nintendo underestimated the jump to HD even more then they have already stated. The difference with the 360 and PS3 was that they had third party developers working on games for the beginning of the HD era, so the lack of content wasn’t nearly as severe as Nintendos’. Essentially Nintendo is the only company really putting their weight behind the Wii U development, and due to that learning curve Nintendo put themselves in a situation where they simply had to take the time and learn and correct their weaknesses.
Once Nintendo get their head wrapped out HD gaming, you will start to see not only more content on the Wii U, but the big games such as Zelda and a Mario games along the lines of Super Mario Galaxy make their way to the system. We already know Nintendo is showing off the new Zelda at E3 2014, but other than that they have been very quite on what things first party have been working on. When that finally happens, which seems to already be in progress with Mario Kart and Smash Bros hitting this year, Nintendo will be back on the road to selling millions of consoles a year.
Calling the Wii U a failure at this point and time is just pure ignorance.
The Wii U definitely got off to a bad start, but calling it a failure is pure ignorance. Nintendo has proven in the past that if they make a bad product they will cut their losses and get out, and the fact that they are sticking to the Wii U shows that they have software in the pipeline to support the console. To the people that say Nintendo should scrap the Wii U and start over, I say you need to remember what actually goes into bringing a console to market. It would cost Nintendo more money to bring a new console to market than it would be to simply cut the Wii U and move development of all titles over to a new platform. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars just for the R&D to make a new console. Then you also have to factor in all of the money Nintendo would simply lose that was spent on bringing the Wii U to market.
Nintendo had a very similar situation with the 3DS, but were able to turn that around in about a year after they admitted they had the wrong strategy. There were a ton of people calling it a failure and Nintendo should just stop making hand held consoles. Look at the 3DS now. It has become not only one of the most popular gaming systems, but it has also become a platform with an amazing line up of quality games from first and third parties. Nintendo has already stated that they plan to reevaluate their strategy with the Wii U and turn it around, which is half the battle when looking at a product that isn’t living up to its potential. When Nintendo announces the right software line up, combined with the right price point, Wii U consoles will start to fly off shelves.
All of this talk about Nintendo is doomed or is on the road to bankruptcy needs to stop. Anyone that makes claim Nintendo needs to go mobile, or is going to have to go third party clearly has no clue what they are talking about. Nintendo is the king of software, and for years they have proven that their software sells their hardware. Their strategies always sound crazy at first, but they have proven themselves time and time again that they know what they are doing. No matter if it’s gimmicky like the Wii or more traditional like the Game Boy, Nintendo will always be the single most successful publisher of software on the planet. Once the Wii U finally receives its lineup of killer games, it will be no exception.