Nintendo: Early Wii U sales hurt by game delays

"We knew we had a great line-up. We wanted it to launch much earlier to drive the system," Reggie Fils-Aime says.

It is no secret that the Wii U has not been the success Nintendo had hoped it would be, at least not yet. Part of the reason why the platform struggled out of the gate came down to Nintendo not having enough compelling software available for the system at launch, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Siliconera in a new interview.

"When we launched the Wii U, we were pointing to Pikmin, we were pointing to Wii Fit U, and we were pointing to Zelda and Mario--so all of these great games that are coming out now, we wanted them to come out by the end of March last year," Fils-Aime said. "That’s been the biggest challenge we've had. We knew we had a great line-up. We wanted it to launch much earlier to drive the system."

The first-party software drought the Wii U suffered through at launch has been largely remedied, and won't be an issue moving forward either, Fils-Aime said.

"We have to make sure that the pipeline for new games has that steady pace. We've had it arguably since July, in terms of that regular pace of games--and guess what? The Wii U has responded, and we just have to make sure that that pace is consistent," Fils-Aime said.

Nintendo's "regular pace of games" recently included Wii Fit U and Super Mario 3D World in November, and will continue with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze this month. Nintendo will also release Mario Kart 8 and a new Super Smash Bros. game in 2014 alongside the Wii U-exclusive Bayonetta 2.

Also in the interview, Fils-Aime said Nintendo does monitor online petitions like Operation Moonfall and Operation Rainfall, but such efforts don't materially impact the company's business decisions.

"I have to tell you--it doesn't affect what we do," he said. "We certainly look at it, and we're certainly aware of it, but it doesn't necessarily affect what we do."

The decision to localize a game like Xenoblade Chronicles, which Nintendo did for the original Wii in 2012, was based on a simple return-on-investment basis.

"The deal was, how much of a localization effort is it? How many units are we going to sell, are we going to make money? We were literally having this debate while Operation Rainfall was happening, and we were aware that there was interest for the game, but we had to make sure that it was a strong financial proposition," Fils-Aime said.

"I'm paid to make sure that we're driving the business forward," he added. "So we're aware of what's happening, but in the end we've got to do what's best for the company. The thing we know [about petitions] is that 100,000 signatures doesn't mean 100,000 sales."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

Discussion

369 comments
soulless4now
soulless4now

"Excuses again? No more. Enough, Wakka!"

Vodoo
Vodoo

I don't foresee third parties going back to making Wii U games ever again this gen. With the rising costs of development (so they say) it's a big gamble whether they will even make their money back, never mind even making a profit. And I'm not sure Nintendo will be able to sustain being the primary game developer on the system for the next few years. 


I wonder if Nintendo started designing a new console yet. If third parties don't return by next Christmas season, I think Nintendo will have to start looking for alternatives to the Wii U, be it releasing a new system to make up for the damage the Wii U caused or leaving the console market for the next few years until the following gen launches. Whatever their decision, there's gonna be even more competition in the console arena with the Steam Machine and Mad Catz's Android-powered console. They gotta either step up or step out.

locknuts84
locknuts84

I really don't know what I want anymore. Companies like Ubisoft, EA and Activision are releasing broken games and patching them later. Then you have the other extreme where Miyamoto will delay a game for as long as it takes to be as polished as possible at launch. Either I'm buying games now and waiting for patches so that I can actually play the thing, or I'm waiting for Nintendo to release the game. Either way, games are never ready when they need to be anymore.

chadmulligan
chadmulligan

we'll have remakes.  hope it sells enough to survive a couple years.  without the wii's innovation suprise, will Never outsell anyone else.  and the controller is bad bob, its bad...

superkadeemx
superkadeemx

what about after Nintendo's 1st party titles are released?

chadmulligan
chadmulligan

voodoo, I couldnt agree more, this is nintendos fukashima situation LOL  other two have half the wii u's sales in 1/48th the time!  Even if they had sold 15 million systems by now, they've ignored and alienated the major 3rd party players so much in the past, they'd still never have the hardcore games.  i bought wii u because i have a 2 and a 4 year old and wanted tame games.  bummer is they have the best home grown games and could annihilate sony if they had FF, gta ect....  sob... i bught one... sob...   wait 3 years more for mkart and zelda. well played goontendo!

Vodoo
Vodoo

Nintendo really got themselves into a jam with the Wii U. Now they're caught in a catch-22 situation where they need games made to spur system sales, but devs want to see a lot more system sales before they invest in making games for it. 

And let's just put one thing to bed right now... the Wii-U is definitely more powerful than the 360/ps3. At least it should be. The only way that Nintendo would be stupid enough not to make the Wii U more powerful would be in the unlikely event that the company was being ran by stingy, cheap, Japanese corpses that reanimated themselves and have been releasing the same game over and over again for the last 20 yrs.   But all that hoopla is irrelevant anyways because the PS4 & XB1 are out and they hula dance all over the Wii-U's face. That's right... they're at an all you can eat buffet and the Wii-U is on the menu. 

But whenever Nintendo needs a lie told or wants to make things not look as bad as they really are, they got the old Regmeister there to pull shit out of his ass left & right. This guy says that they had a constant stream of quality software flowing since July and the software drought is over? That must be why the Wii U sold an additional 250 units last month. In Reggie-speak that would mean the console sold an additional 900% over the previous month when the software drought was in full swing. Phew! Good thing that's over. Someone just needs to tell the inter-webs this startling new information and then maybe next month they'll have another 1600% profit-making marathon.

chadmulligan
chadmulligan

this guys gonna say " with current lineup and franchise power" until the system is discontinued and hes fired in 2014 LOL :)

91210user
91210user

Reggie is the man, I like Reggie. It's nice to know Reggie is man enough to explain his thoughts on this. Shame on those greedy hoarding Japanese  developers for those delays!

1blackone
1blackone

Nintendo can afford to cut into their 3DS profits a little bit, since they are crushing in the handheld market. So, If they bundled the 1st gen 3DS with a Wii U (but no games) for about 350$, it would sell crazy.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

I love how everyone says Nintendo needs third party support, despite basically proving over the past two generations that they really, really don't.

Nintendo needs third party devs like a fish needs a bicycle. Nintendo is failing right now because of mistakes they've made, not because they haven't made themselves the whores of "Mega-publisher X."

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

The only Nintendo console I ever bought was a GameCube for Resident evil. I loved it but could care less about Nintendo's Kiddy first party titles. And no their first party titles don't appeal to everyone, they are kiddy games. Nintendo needs third party games and should be making that a priority.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

This is their 1st console that's a true failure, I hope they learn from this. They better hope even if they make a proper console people will buy it after this to.

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

Yawn at that line up. Mario and Zelda again...

Rusmurf
Rusmurf

I own a WiiU, I bought it for Mario, Zelda, and a couple other games. I'm happy with it. All that said, Nintendo needs a kick in the pants. Every few consoles they seems to make some big errors. Whatever follows the WiiU will probably be a much better system.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

so essentially he is saying the wii u problems are the result of terrible project management. you are talking about 5 - 8 month delays for most of the games mentioned as he had "expected" them to release way back in march. in either case, the current state of the wii u is nintendo's fault through and through. as many people have pointed out, had they released the console, say in the summer or early fall, they would have had a stream of great software releases to give them momentum into the holidays. all the bad press wouldn't have happened and they would be trailing behind the other big two, but at least not gasping for air as they are now. or, the other side of the coin is, maybe people are just tired of the same old same old, and are ready to move onto new experiences that don't involve 30 year old franchises? take your pick.    

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

many of the Wii Us games in the future are platforming and rpgs. I love platforming and rpgs. This is a driving force to me buying the Wii U. Not only that many of the games I buy on a nintendo console are not buggy, or glitched. Also its not all infected with f2p, p2w, microtransaction crap. Ok maybe Pikmin got some bonus missions but its not on the scale of GT6 or Forza 5 or KI. 

El_Zaggy
El_Zaggy

Many factors explains why the wii u doesnt sell.People are tired of Mario and Zelda, these games are for kids and kids are not even drawn to them, only nostalgic fanboys are now. 2. The wii u is now last gen, it was competing with 360 and ps3, it had no chances of winning last gen war because itw as out too late is more expensive and 3rd party doesnt support the console because they moved on to next gen. 3. The wii. The wii sold a lot it was cheaper and is on the same gen as the gamecube so the hardware wasnt expensive and motion controls looked awesome, so people got tricked by buying the console and never bought anything else because everything else was bad..... then they see this new console and they dont want to be tricked again. Nintendo could make any excuses they want their next gen console better be on par with ps4/xbone and be out very soon, without gimmicks in order to gain more audience

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

Oh my gosh! Nintendo waved back at me! I think they know why I haven't purchased a WiiU yet... :)

Hurvl
Hurvl

Mind -> blown! Who would have guessed that a lack of system sellers would lead to a lack systems sold.

lostn
lostn

No Nintendo, what hurt you was charging $350 for current gen tech.

In just 24 hours the PS4 sold more units in the UK than it sold Wii U's there for an entire year. The PS4 has no games worth getting. But that didn't stop people from buying it. Why? Because people were excited for a new console. 

 The Wii U is not a new console. It's just a PS3/360 grade console with a cheap tablet controller that's low res, and single touch. The system itself has no HDD, and you have to buy an external (more expensive than an internal and slower) and only supposed USB 2.0 speeds, making it even slower than that. Everything about this console just screams cheap. Except for the price. 

Cut the price to $199 with a 500GB internal HDD and we will have ignition. Their insistence on making profits on hardware (or refusal to make losses) is costing them hardware sales which in turn is costing them software sales. 

They told us that at $300/$350 it was making them a slight loss. I don't understand how with tech that old. The PS4 at $400 is not being sold at a loss. They make a slight profit on that, according to the tear down cost analysis. If Sony can make a system like this at only $50 more than Nintendo, why isn't Nintendo including better hardware, or reducing the price significantly? Either they are being ripped off by their suppliers, or they are dishonest about how much it's costing them to make each unit.

In any case, in terms of specs, they don't justify the asking price. And it's not cheap enough to impulse buy. That's why it failed and the Wii's new audience is not on board.

john_matrix8953
john_matrix8953

@Vodoo "I don't foresee third parties going back to making Wii U games ever again this gen. With the rising costs of development (so they say) it's a big gamble whether they will even make their money back,"


And yet, gaming companies and shallow gaming journalist wanted to rush to the next gen. Shallow gamers like you have bitched and moan about how the PS3 and 360 can't produced anymore good games because the graphics aren't pretty anymore. Once you got your precious next gen console, now you're bitching about the rising cost of game development? It was this industry's selfish-ness is what they're paying more on game development.  

Glongold
Glongold

My feelings exactly. I'd be fine if Nintendo were too conservative with launch schedules. Basically whatever they feel they think a title is going to launch, add 6 months to that before going public with the news. At least that way if there is a delays its only a month may be two max before consumers start getting pissed. Can't even get too excited over third-party games because who knows what shape its going to in at launch. Batman: AO had some serious problems that most will just pass over but it really should be unacceptable on part of the developer to release a game with serious bugs. Killer Is Dead, with its screen tearing problems, how can anyone even play that?


It would seem players are better sticking to their current gen up till the day the console manufacturers say its no longer supported, which is shaping up to be 2 years after the next gen comes out. Which is when you finally have a worthy log of games that have been patched and are actually playable.

john_matrix8953
john_matrix8953

@chadmulligan This guy posts a troll post to make himself feel better until he looks at himself in the mirror and cries to sleep LOL :).

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

@1blackone their profit margins for the 3ds is a lot lower then with a console, they would go broke if they did what you're suggesting

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

@Richardthe3rd well it's caught up to them hasn't it? Not even their 1st party titles are selling

xolivierx
xolivierx

@Richardthe3rd Nintendo only having Nintendo exclusive = many people not getting a Nintendo console.
a Nintendo console with GranD theft auto, Metal Gear, Dragon Age and Skyrim would be a great console.

Unfortunately, all you have to look forward to is Zelda and Mario/Mario KArt

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Some other really popular kiddie titles include Halo, CoD, and GTA. None very popular on Nintendo consoles, if they're even on them.

I'm assuming by kiddie you mean games kids play or are interested in.

maxpowr3
maxpowr3

@b74kd3th 

So the Virtual Boy never existed? It's same stupidity when Apple fans clamor for an Apple gaming console [that's what I call my iPad at least] and forget that the Pippin existed. 

rIVAL_sWORD84
rIVAL_sWORD84

@Rusmurf  same here i am enjoying it since i bought wiiU for zelda, mario and DK games. But they need to pump more games in 2 years time, There is no news of sequels to their GC or Wii  games. like Metroid, Star fox. I wish Nintendo keep development time to 2 years but have it developed more first party titles till 2015 and i hope they give indie developers a chance since sometimes indies developers can make good games.

PStrife
PStrife

@Xristophoros Except that the terrible project management started years earlier with things like the company's slow acceptance/adoption of HD gaming, even at the simple R&D stages.  Which goes directly to Iwata's slow moving pace and over-confidences created by the Wii's success. 

Stalling when the move was going to have to come sooner rather then later has bit the company hard now.  Over-expecting results was also backwards, given said lack of push to start simple HD R&D programs internally.  Everyone should have been forced onto the HD train by 2010 at the latest, not during 2012.  No idea as to what Nintendo's directors and producers were doing for all those years.

Mayleene
Mayleene

@El_Zaggy Speak for yourself Zaggy.  The shooters are of little interest to a multitude of gamers.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

This post is pretty much pure idiocy.

And if you think the PS4 is being built with top shelf parts, LOL.

Mayleene
Mayleene

@lostn I would by an Xbox 360 or a PS4 if they would have something other than shooters to play on them.  To bad neither has a good platformer or RPG that I can not get on WiiU.

Vodoo
Vodoo

@rIVAL_sWORD84 @chadmulligan The reason why Windwaker HD sold so well is because there's nothing else to buy! If the Wii U had a proper Zelda at launch, then had WW-HD released this year, it would've sold like half the copies.Not only are Nintendonians hungry for a Zelda game, they're STARVING for any games to play period. They could release "Barbie: Horse Adventures" and it would probably sell a million copies right now. 

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Uh... But they are selling?

WW, an HD remake, already pushed 400k units. The new Mario has already sold that, and sales for the console are improving steadily.

But I guess that's not really an answer for mindless success metrics, right? Sales is such a stupid, unbalanced argument. "Hay guys I'm a mindless drone and since the games aren't setting sales records it's d00med confirmed!"

The WiiU will be a successful console that already has great games. Ninth doesn't need third party support, and their next console should focus even harder on proving that point.

snacky_smorez
snacky_smorez

No the cartoon characters that appear in all their games marketed to 7-12 year olds. Yeah clearly halo is marketed to that crowd. Oh and especially GTA with the hooker stompings and rampant killing, clearly a kiddy game. The cartoon plumber and monkeys in shirts on go karts is clearly a mature title targeted to the older hardcore crowd.

lostn
lostn

@Richardthe3rd I never said that. But they're a generational leap above what the Wii U is using. I mean, 32GB storage when some games are 50GB. LOL.

john_matrix8953
john_matrix8953

@Vodoo @rIVAL_sWORD84 @chadmulligan The reason why this troll is ignoring facts is because he lacks a sex life. If he didn't spend time bitching and moaning about a game console that he would've owned mouths ago to play the games that he clearly wants, then he would have a life. 

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Again, if your only concern is wooing mega-publishing conglomerates, then yes, sales volume starts mattering a lot more.  And in terms of game development it's the precursor to the invariable race to the bottom in terms of game design and whether you get rapid scheduled releases as opposed to one or two quality titles in an IP.


The WiiU might have tried to win over third parties out of the gate, and that's probably why they released the WiiU without as much 1st party support.

The reality has changed, and honestly it's been there for a while.   It's simply that most Nintendo fans don't care about the products pubs like Activision and EA have to offer.  Can you think of a major title that's competed with their first party titles from either of those two in the past 3 generations of Nintendo's consoles?  Didn't think so.


As long as they can make projects profitable, that's what matters.  And they have a lot of control over that.  As far as software itself goes in terms of quality and design, they absolutely put the bigger publishers to shame.  They don't need to compete with other consoles, they need to compete with these third party devs. The games will bring the players.

crazyguy111
crazyguy111

@Richardthe3rd

Of course sales matter. More sales=more 3rd party support, more money for Nintendo to create games and more money to spend on game development. not to mention more online players to compete with. Without sales Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony would not even exist. 



Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

I completely agree and that was really what I was driving at. I used the word "kiddie" more in response to the troll.

Truly they aren't kiddie games, but the reality of the matter is that the immaturity of the titles as you adequately stated ends up drawing the younger, more immature crowd.

When I was a kid it was Mortal Kombat and Doom; my friends and I would sneak the carts into our houses without our parents knowing. I'm sure the only change is the titles, and maybe the fact that we're all several measures more desensitized now.

In pretty much every way your Mario's and Zelda's are far more sophisticated than most of the mainstream 3rd party IPs out there.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@snacky_smorez 

So I take it you go on youtube with your kids and watch Happy Tree Friends? Clearly you haven't played ANY of Nintendo's franchises because if all their games were meant for 7-12 year olds, then the difficulty of those games would reflect that but that's not the case, Nintendo's games are typically much more challenging than most of the "mature titles" you probably play. Why would Nintendo make a game challenging if it's meant for kids? 

Richardthe3rd is wrong about those games being kiddie, they are, however, rather immature and when I think about almost all the people I know who love those kinds of games, clearly those games are not targeted at intelligent and creative individuals, more like the "easily amused, haha it's fun because there's blood, guns and swearing in it" crowd. 

Nintendo's games on the other hand either feature challenging gameplay that either tests your skills or challenges your thinking process, stories that may seem light hearted on the surface, but involve some very deep themes, and a universal appeal that resonates well with people of all ages, and they don't do this by trying to be "cool" or selling out like other developers have.