Thursday Throwdown: Can Wii U Survive Poor Holiday Sales?

October 31, 2013 | By | No Comments

Nintendo’s President Iwata recently spoke to investors and shareholders about the current lack of Wii U sales across the globe. He divulged that Nintendo’s latest console sales are no where close to where they need to be and that the hardware has also accomplished 5% of its total projected sales goal of 9 million by the end of the fiscal year. If Nintendo’s console has a poor Holiday sales season, Nintendo is going to have to look at what it has moving forward with its failing platform. This begs the question, can and will the Wii U survive a poor holiday sales experience or will Nintendo have to start looking in other directions to stop the bleeding money?

David Wales: Nintendo is definitely in trouble. They’re currently bleeding money to the tune of $80,000,000 in quarterly losses and Wii U sales are continuing to be non-existent. I know a lot of weight is being placed on the upcoming software lineup which includes a Super Mario Bros. 3D World and Mario Kart, but I’m unsure how much that’s going to matter when so many gamers are already cash strapped due to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launches scheduled in November.

It’s been revealed that Nintendo has sold 460,000 Wii U consoles over the last six months across the globe and with a projection of 9,000,000 by the end of March 2014, it’s unlikely they’re going to even hit the 50% point of that goal. If Nintendo exits December without the Wii U sitting closer to 5,000,000 due to the price cut, Holiday sales, and new Super Mario, then I don’t think Mario Kart is going to be able to help push it over the top or closer to its project goals. Ultimately, I think Nintendo is going to have to start seriously considering its options when it comes to the Wii U.

Obviously a lot of people don’t want to see them abandon the platform, but no company is going to continue to lose money on something that can’t win. If it comes down to it, I’m sure Nintendo has a threshold already picked out that needs to be met before contemplating throwing in the towel, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that. In the end, I don’t think the Wii U is going to be able to survive poor Holiday sales and I think it’s going to eventually lead to an early generation cycle for Nintendo’s gaming division.

Travis Tucker: Nintendo definitely needs the Wii U to have a strong holiday season, but I’m not ready to put that final nail in their coffin. I think they are a viable alternative this holiday season. The system is priced $100 cheaper than the PlayStation 4 ($200 less than the Xbox One), comes bundled with a game (a download of Wind Waker HD or a bundle of New Super Mario Bros. U/Super Luigi U), and should be more widely available.

The key word is “survive,” not thrive. There is a brand new Mario game, Super Mario 3D World, coming before the end of the year that should help boost both hardware and software sales. Then, shortly after the beginning of the year, Nintendo has the next Mario Kart coming down the pipe and we all know that those games always sell well. If Nintendo can survive to the release of Mario Kart, I think we will begin to see a turnaround for the House that Mario and Zelda built.

So, yes, I think they can survive. However, they will never be in the leader’s position that they held much of this generation. Nintendo needs to begin considering what it should do for its next system and start considering moving back towards providing a console that companies want to utilize. I appreciate what they have done with the Wii Remote and the GamePad (especially the GamePad), but Nintendo has failed in making developers understand how they can use this technology to make great games. Maybe it is apathy, maybe it is laziness, but major developers have expressed their unwillingness to work with anything outside of a standard controller. In all fairness, Sony and Microsoft have faced the same issue. Name one game outside of the Dance Central titles that have made good and proper use of the Kinect.

The “too long; didn’t read” version: Nintendo can and will survive, if only barely. However, they need to start realizing they need to work with developers, not try to force developers into their mold when it comes time to work on a new console. Otherwise, we may see Nintendo go the same route as Sega.