Nintendo: Some believe Wii U is 'just Wii with a pad for games'

President Satoru Iwata says communicating novelty of system has been a "grand challenge."

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has outlined why the Wii U has failed to live up to expectation thus far. In prepared comments published today, the executive said one reason is due to consumers simply not understanding the system's unique features.

"Some have the misunderstanding that Wii U is just Wii with a pad for games, and others even consider Wii U GamePad as a peripheral device connectable to Wii," Iwata said. "We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product."

Iwata is not the first Nintendo higher-up to acknowledge marketing the Wii U has been difficult compared to the original Wii. Mario and Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto said last month that because the Wii U does not have a "looking-fun" element to it, relative to the original Wii, sales have been slow.

Iwata echoed this sentiment today, calling Nintendo's ability to communicate the value of the Wii U a "grand challenge."

"Wii U might still have no such captivating game title as Wii Sports for Wii, with which people immediately comprehended its product value, but it surely has a lot of factors appreciated by users," Iwata said. "We would like to take time to work thoroughly for its penetration, by making various efforts to have many people understand its product value as well as enriching the software lineup."

Another reason the Wii U has come up short thus far, according to Iwata, is due to the extended length between major first-party titles.

"Regarding Wii U, the release intervals of first-party key titles have been so much longer than we expected at the Corporate Management Policy Briefing in January that we have not successfully maintained the momentum of the platform," Iwata said.

Beginning with Pikmin 3 in August, Iwata explained that the Wii U new release slate will ramp up quickly. When gamers who do not own a Wii U see a compelling title for the system, they will be spurred to buy the console, Iwata said.

"Starting with Pikmin 3 scheduled for release in the upcoming July [in Japan], however, we will intensively launch our key titles to give sales momentum to the platform," he said. "As a decisive factor in buying a console is that you cannot play a much-anticipated title without the hardware, we will do our best to have you feel from this summer to the end of this year that there are plenty of great games for Wii U."

Iwata said release dates for Nintendo's upcoming suite of Wii U games will be announced at the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo in early June. Nintendo will not hold a major media briefing at the show this summer and is instead planning to host smaller events to showcase new titles and updates.

Nintendo has previously called out new Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros., and Wii Fit games for Wii U, as well as Pikmin 3 and its two Legend of Zelda titles, as those that will help the platform return to profitability.

Nintendo is also developing a Super Smash Bros. game for Wii U, though no official update on this game has been provided since it was announced that Namco Bandai would be co-developing the game with Nintendo.

The Wii U has sold 3.45 million units worldwide as of March 31, more than 500,000 units short of Nintendo's sales forecast of 4 million units. By this time next year, Nintendo plans to have sold 9 million systems.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

424 comments
VegasAceVII
VegasAceVII

Calling it a Wii U was the first problem they bumped into.  They made it sound like an add-on.

In any case; the system is fantastic and the first party games rock.  

Glongold
Glongold

I've always maintained Nintendo needs to make at least one kickass flag ship game for at least 3 genres: RPG (No not Zelda, that's an Action Adventure RPG), A FPS (because you can't fight market forces; its what consumers look for) and a serious action game that they can call their very own. These must be NEW ips. 

Games like Mario, Zelda and Metroid should be used sparingly as devices to introduce the new hardware and show the capabilities. Then use your new ips to fuel the fire and from there gain support from third-parties to follow suit.

I realize creating a new ip has huge risk but as a company, you have to stake new ground to where the markets are heading.


That said, Nintendo will be fine but I think for Wii Us/Wii Mii/Wii 3/Wii Tu or whatever the next console is called they need power and more 1st party IPs Time to start buying out more developers or something.

UltraredM
UltraredM

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, as they grow, are becoming more and more foolish and setting themselves up for failure. The "Move", "Kinect" and the entire premise of the Wii and Wii U are the reasons these companies are disappointed with their income. They spend too much on developing novelty crap and become surprised when the revenue doesn't match the costs.

The_Dragon_Born
The_Dragon_Born

What's wrong with calling it Wii 2? That wouldn't have confused people. You need a price drop! We're getting the same graphics on current gen consoles!

Fantasy_Dragon
Fantasy_Dragon

Well no shit, Nintendo, took you this long to figure that out?

yavix
yavix

The problem is that they named it Wii U. Which I bet they thought was a cute word play on Wii 2. I think they should have just called it the U. They could still get away with just calling it the U. Hell the u is the biggest thing on the box. Putting the word Wii in the title automatically hurt its chances in the west.

DarthLod
DarthLod

Nintendo doesnt live in reality. And the giant will be brought down soon.

SeannTHEsheep
SeannTHEsheep

just had a go with nintendos panorama view i dont know what other people think but even though this isnt game related its an incredible piece of technology i cant figure out how theyve managed to do it its fascinating.  kind of a gimicky app but its impressive.

wheres_my_phone
wheres_my_phone

Why does it take them so long to make games? A new Call of Duty and Assasins Creed come out every year, and on various platforms too. It wouldn't hurt to recruit,expand, and spend a little more money in their software departments. Maybe if they did there would be a reason to pull Wii U out of the drawer. Instead it sits there and does nothing all day long.

meatz666
meatz666

Come on... Wii U is not a "just Wii with a pad for games". It's a Wii with a pad that no softhouse wants to use it.

But it still the only console backwards compatible. And this is a important thing.

xiiraveniix
xiiraveniix

Try releasing some goddamn games, that's kinda what the system is for. No wonder people don't know what the Wii U is about; it doesn't really do much of anything at the moment. It's ridiculous for them to talk about games coming toward the end of the year (a year since the system was released), especially when the end of the year is when heaps of games are released for all systems anyway. I'm afraid four or five games is not enough for someone to look forward to. They released this thing way too early; should've waited for games to be completed first.

Downloadpilot
Downloadpilot

So what's in a name? Thanks to Nintendo, we're about to find out...

chipwithdip
chipwithdip

It's not "some". It's A LOT. I was talking about it with my friends. Those that weren't avid gamers were all surprised when I explained it to them.


Nintendo needs to do what they did with the 3DS and do two things:

1) Establish it as its own console, not an upgrade or add-on.

2) Get some gawt dayumn 1st party titles on that shit.

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

Yea... it has more to do with what the console is rather than some misconception of what it is.

javalino
javalino

Some believe that WiiU doesn't even exist. 

Bangerman15
Bangerman15

Wii 2 would've been a much better name... just saying!  At least with that people think "Oh, it's the second wii."

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

This just in, the Pii-U was a horrible failure, Nintendo's future at stake.  More at 11

franzito
franzito

Why suddenly Nintendo, SQEX and company HAVE TO come up with excuses for everything? Why do they think I care about all this when I already know maybe themselves know s*** or just don't wanna admit their screw ups? A system is made of games, great ones, and Wii U doesn't seem to have them, so, is there any other explanation for its below average reception and performance? Where?

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

"We feel deeply responsible for not having tried hard enough to have consumers understand the product."

Well naming it the Wii U kind of set the wrong tone to begin with. Wii 2, "2" = sequel. amazing how one character would have made a big difference. They should have named it something different that Wii altogether though. At this point most think of "Wii" = oh that game thing I played as a novelty. They should have given it a unique name and got away from the stigma.

AlexFili
AlexFili

The trouble with the casual market is that it's really fickle, I think the lack of Wii U sales has to do with perceptions and their overall opinions

Humdinger80
Humdinger80

No Iwata...the reason the Wii U isn't selling has nothing to do with the name or the gamepad, it has everything to do with it being underpowered with an embarrassingly low hard drive space. Gamers don't like outdated specs and obviously neither do 3rd party devs. 

Had you released a system comparable to the PS4 or 720 in the first place you would've had the "hardcore" buying enough release units for the "casuals" to catch on so it would've made sense for 3rd parties not to abandon the Wii U so early. 

This would've led to games like Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, GTAV, Battlefield 4, showing up on the Wii U that would've made the wait for 1st party games easier to swallow. But instead you do what you ALWAYS DO which is go your own way and "innovate" and proclaim "gameplay over graphics!!!!" instead of understanding that both are equally as important as the other. You could easily dominate the industry yet you choose to make purple cubes that looks like a childs lunchbox complete with a handle that plays these little baby sized discs, tha fu?...haha

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

The best way to communicate the novelty of the system is to put zombiu into the console and to put the controller into a person's hand.  The person will then see how awesome the novelty can work.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

" Some believe Wii U is 'just Wii with a pad for games' "

Reminds me of my parents, they used to call every video game system a "Nintendo" for 6 years straight. I think they still do.

Auction_Sniper
Auction_Sniper

Well I guess we all keep them hooked up in hopes that the updates will finally make the OS run at an acceptable speed like on the older consoles.

4-Legged-Shark
4-Legged-Shark

They really shouldn't have called it the Wii U... Should have left Wii out of the name entirely. Everyone saw this coming, even Nintendo acknowledged the confusion before the launch. It's really baffling that they didn't just change the name. 

hadlee73
hadlee73

" When gamers who do not own a Wii U see a compelling title for the system, they will be spurred to buy the console." Doh, Iwata (or his translator) just effectively crapped on their Wii U Super Mario title with that comment, lol

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

What does the 'U' mean anyway? It just sounds like they got carried away with inspiration from Apples 'i' products, so everyone feels like the products were made just for them. Wii, U, i... Mi... Arrrgghhhhh! I'm making myself angry!

DarkReign2552
DarkReign2552

Umm... call it something other than Wii U? Considering most of the content on the Wii had the console title in it somewhere ( Wii Sports, Wii Play, Wii Resort, Wii Opera, Wii Fit, Wiimote. Wiimotion Plus) Wii U, in Hindsight, just sounds like another controller attachment or something unnecessary like the uDraw tablet.

I've lost count of the number of times I've hear kids in the store asking their parents to buy the Wii U and the response is always "but you already own a Wii." This is proof enough that the naming of their console was a colossal mistake. Even Wii 2 would've been a better choice as it at least denotes that it's the second in a series.

Vodoo
Vodoo

If they're having identity issues with the Wii U, why don't they address that in the commercials? But they should've called it something else if they didn't want this problem.

JRLennis
JRLennis

I put Iwata up for being honest about Nintendo's missteps with the Wii-U.  Communicating clearly with consumers is especially important when the company is in a difficult position.  Consumer confidence in the brand can be spurred when the company acknowledges it has a problem and is actively working to correct it.

sa2bmaster
sa2bmaster

@wheres_my_phone It's called quality control, and most of their games come out every year or two years. Nintendo might not have the team size of Ubisoft, which has tons of employees working on Assasin's Creed, and Activision gets 2 different developers to make Call of Duty so those games actually have a 2 year development cycle. Not to mention that Nintendo also works on many different high quality IPs, so it takes time to release some games.

iamdanthaman
iamdanthaman

@Bangerman15 Unfortunately, they could not have done that, since the number 2 in Japanese is ni, so the console would have been called the Wii Nii.


But they really should have just done it anyway.

Diddyaa
Diddyaa

 @xeoneex66 And this kids is one of the very many trolls who don't know what the word opinion means.

bionickraken49
bionickraken49

@Humdinger80 Please tell me how many "hardcore gamers" are buying the "Xbox 720." coughcoughxboxonecoughcoughtelevisioncoughcough

JacketsNest101
JacketsNest101

@Humdinger80 Hey, genius, the WiiU doesn't have a hard drive, it uses flash memory. You know, that stuff called solid state memory that's more stable than a hard drive which uses magnetic storage. Before you make a comment about a system you do not own, do some research into its specs.

MGSFAN612
MGSFAN612

@Humdinger80 Can't the WII U handle graphics for games like GTA IV and the others you mentioned?

I was under the assumption that it's specs were slightly better than the PS3 and 360

osxgp
osxgp

@Humdinger80 Could not have said it better myself. The Wii U should've been called the Dreamcast 2. It is a sinking ship and I don't see Mario or Zelda titles doing much more that plugging a few leaks. There aren't too many developers going down with that ship either when the PS4 and the next Xbox are their with a brand new powerful ships on the horizon.

hadlee73
hadlee73

@PSYCHOV3N0M You pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'm sure there are hundreds of casual gamers out there who heard about the Wii U and thought "Nah, I don't need to expand my Wii as all my current games work fine with my current controller."

Humdinger80
Humdinger80

@XNEXUS666X Nice, I thought I was the only one that noticed this. It's clearly obvious that the success of Apples Ipads, Iphones, and tablets is exactly what I think drives all the decisions Nintendo makes these days with not just the name of their products but also the functionality, social intergration, and design, right down to the actual look of their products. The Wii and Wii U look like something right off of Apple Inc production line.

hadlee73
hadlee73

@XNEXUS666X As per the WiiU press conference when it was first announced for America, Wii = families playing together in the living room, whereas the U = the core gamer returning to Nintendo consoles. Clearly it appears they have mis-interpreted what a core gamer is as there's not much going on for them on Wii U yet.

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

@DarkReign2552"I've lost count of the number of times I've hear kids in the store asking their parents to buy the Wii U and the response is always "but you already own a Wii." This is proof enough that the naming of their console was a colossal mistake."

I see your point, but have to disagree, to a degree. Our parents pretty much said the same thing when we wanted a SNES. So we talked to our Uncle, who actually paid attention to new trends and electronics. He, unlike them, knew the difference between 8bit and 16bit.

Now that I'm a parent, as much as I hate it, I will buy my kid the new "Barbie Condo" versus saying "It's just like the Barbie Dream House". A working elevator, "real" lighting fixtures and a glowing fireplace is not the same as the working doorbell on the house.

wheres_my_phone
wheres_my_phone

I think they could do better than what they're doing now, that's all. I wouldn't say 2d Mario or semi remakes of old games is good quality, especially when Wind Waker and A Link to the Past look and play great as they are. It kinda looks like they're underpowered for what they need, which is why they should find some more developers, or encourage 3rd parties more to put NEW games on their system.

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

@Diddyaa Guess what, mine is an opinion too.  Opinion's are like assholes, every has one and they stink.  Even mine does, to someone else.  I'm entitled to say whatever I wish on these comment boards.  The fact you would call me out for a troll means you yourself are a troll and infact are trying to instigate a troll battle.  Just thought I'd point that out.

SeannTHEsheep
SeannTHEsheep

@MGSFAN612 @Humdinger80 they are and gta5 is supposedly secretly being developed under the radar for the wii-u or at least it was in development in early january but things may have changed regarding its release but them working on development of the wii-u version was definately a factor that caused the game to be delayed for the other console formats.  maybe the wii-u version got scrapped but it was definately being worked on in january this year.  

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

@hadlee73 @XNEXUS666X I remember when the Gamecube was at the top of the league, it's really just MS and Sony battling it out now. I appreciate what they did with the Wii, I even considered buying one once, but I think releasing a newer console with a similar name and different controller just leaves people feeling like they're being tricked with gimmicks. They could have given it a more tougher name at least.