Nintendo Admits the New Wii is a Failure
It’s been a year of console wars. While one could spend hours debating the victor, the loser has been obvious for quite some time, and Nintendo seems to finally be realizing that its Wii U is never going to be the most popular kid on the playground.
The company announced that it is slashing sales projections by almost 70 percent. It now expects sales of only 2.8 million Wii U units for the fiscal year ending in March, as opposed to the company’s earlier projection of 9 million.
By contrast, 4.2 million Playstation 4 and 3 million Xbox One units have sold since both consoles launched in November 2013.
Software sales for the Wii U were also halved from an expected 38 million to 19 million.
The company’s failure to reach its target marks a third consecutive annual loss. Instead of the 100 billion yen profit ($958.5 million) expected, Nintendo now expects to post a 35 billion yen loss (about $335.5 million).
The successor to the extremely popular 2006 Wii console, the Wii U broke new ground by adding a second screen to the console experience. However, competition from more convenient cell phones and tablets for mobile gaming and more powerful consoles for experienced gamers left the Wii U with no distinguishing factors to set it apart from the competition.
The company’s attempts to bolster Wii U sales with big title releases like “The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker” and “Super Mario 3D World” were moderately successful. But even a $50 price cut in September of 2013 to $299 couldn’t supply the success the console needed.
Nintendo’s 3DS, while still popular and successful in Japan, where it sold 4.9 million of its projected 5 million units, has also taken a hit in American markets, according to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. As a result, 3DS sales projections were cut from 18 million to 13.5 million units globally.
The original Wii is a continued success for the company, albeit a small one. Projections were raised from 2 million units to 2.6 million units.
In light of these dismal sales figures and muted hopes for the coming year, the question remains whether Nintendo will continue to survive off it’s mega franchises like Zelda and Mario, as The Verge suggests it will, or if it will change its strategy to adjust to the consumer market. Only time — and the coming year’s sales — will tell.