Nintendo: 'We are to blame' for poor Wii U sales

Sluggish console sales were addressed by Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata, who says the company is to blame.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has directly addressed the reason the Wii U console has sold poorly.

In an interview with CNBC, he discussed why Nintendo's newest console, the Wii U, has not met sales expectations.

"We are to blame. We relaxed our [marketing] efforts, so the consumers today still cannot understand what's so good and unique about the Wii U," Iwata said.

"We have been unsuccessful in coming up with one single software with which people can understand, 'OK, this is really different.' As long as people have hands-on [experience], they can appreciate the value of the Wii U, but because there's not software that's simple and obvious for people as 'Wii Sports' for the Wii, potential consumers do not feel like trying the Wii U."

The Wii U console sold 3.45 million units worldwide for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which ended March 2013.

Nintendo cut its Wii U sales forecast in January as a result of lower-than-anticipated sales. Expectations were set for 4 million units sold, down from an initial target of 5.5 million.

The publisher predicts that it will sell 9 million Wii U consoles worldwide over the course of the coming financial year. Plans to return the company to profitability were outlined in its full-year earnings report, which focused on releasing "key" first-party titles during the second half of 2013 and through next year. The company has also said it will improve Wii U sales by "communicating the compelling nature of our hardware and software" through Miiverse.

The Wii U sold 425,000 units during its first week of launch, 50,000 consoles short of the original Wii's first-week sales tally of 475,000 units in 2006. To date, over 40 million original Wii consoles have been sold in the US.

Nintendo recently announced Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze at its Nintendo Direct event, which took place during E3.

Written By

Zorine “harli” Te is a long time Australian competitive gamer and also an Associate Editor at GameSpot.

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Discussion

1239 comments
Sn00pyBrown
Sn00pyBrown

The price for this piece of shit console should of been 250$. Who the fuck would pay $350 plus tax for a 32gb wii u console when a ps4 for $399 or 440 with tax, 500gb. nice games.

TransformerRobo
TransformerRobo

I gotta say that this is really gutsy of Nintendo, admitting to their mistakes.


They should've had more first-party titles to begin with. That's what helped get the Super NES and NES off the ground at a good start, right?

JMcN76
JMcN76

They should've made better games for launch. Why bring out a console and then have all your flagship brands (Zelda, Metroid, Smash Bros. etc) not come out until 2014? Doesn't make much sense. 

Vienreich
Vienreich

how can companies even venture into handheld devices and investing huge amounts on something that's gonna obviously fail in a time of excellent smartphones. It seems so dumb.. or mayby I'm just not very informed on this, but I don't know anyone that owns a handheld console since many many years back.

lnk099
lnk099

Well, for one thing your grammar isn't something to be proud of–Punctuation, seriously.

Notice how I have exempted those who are not a fan. I don't care that you don't like the series and unlike Halo the Zelda series is different per game and has a different story each time, therefor there is no Zelda 5 or 15.

Just because YOU don't like these games does not mean that other people share YOUR opinion.

Plus I have never played the games you have mentioned and I did already say that Nintendo should INCLUDE more games besides the recurring series. 

megakick
megakick

SUPER SMASH BROS. U console will help you...

LE5LO
LE5LO

This has little to do with more aggressive marketing, anyone who knows enough about the industry knows Nintendo's flagship line-up for the Wii U was weak. Without good software to back it up how could they expect lots of sales? The only two games I've seen that look fun are Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101, and neither of them are out. 

First you need to make some fresh and interesting games Nintendo, because there's barely a thing "New" about New Super Mario Bros Wii U.

Leeric420
Leeric420

"We have been unsuccessful in coming up with one single software with which people can understand, 'OK, this is really different.' As long as people have hands-on [experience], they can appreciate the value of the Wii U, but because there's not software that's simple and obvious for people as 'Wii Sports' for the Wii, potential consumers do not feel like trying the Wii U."

The first quote they take blame, in this one they don't however. They still are blaming their customers, just like microsoft, lets put it this way if I were to interchange the words to xbox one everyone would see it as them blaming the customer in the above quote. So we gamers only understand simple and obvious software? Its funny how people look at nintendo's comments one way and yet the same moronic comments from Microsoft another, even though they both seem to be blaming the customer.

shadgrindk
shadgrindk

Thanks for clearing that up.  I thought it was Sega's fault. 

Change_MyShorts
Change_MyShorts

If Nintendo went strictly handheld, or perhaps a handheld you can hook up to the TV, I wouldn't complain. Nintendo has DOMINATED the handheld market since day 1.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

Nintendo should stop making consoles, and start making games. I don't think the Wii or any Nintendo console is shit.. they're great games machines, real games, not the focus on first person tactical multiplayer crap, and all gamers love some of theese games, but they also want their tactical shooters and stuff too, Nintendo would make so much more money if they focused on bringing their awesome games to all machines.

wyansas
wyansas

Nintendo Land was the title that was supposed to explain "what's so good and unique about the Wii U," the problem is we just didn't like it that much.  Nintendo's big idea with the Wii U is the second screen and local asymmetric multiplayer.  I don't like taking my eyes off the TV to look down at the second screen, and local multiplayer is fun, but video games for me are still "me time," and I'd usually just prefer to be alone with my games.  Wii U's not for me yet.

yman173
yman173

When you go to the store and see only a dozen or so games for the Wii U, thats the reason why its not selling. Nintendo has built its history on great first-party games, and right now theyre just not there. At least it looks like theyre trying to do something about it. Hopefully this, and a price cut, will make it marketable. Eventually Ill get one, when both of those things happen.

Richard841
Richard841

Nintendo is an honorable company, you would never see Microsoft or Sony being this honest and truthful. I find it quite refreshing.

spectre4lom
spectre4lom

Why did they called it WiiIU?? Belive it or not, lots of people think it is just a little Wii update, not a brand new system, I'm not kidding!

hasancakir
hasancakir

Wii U desperately needs new IPs. Mario and Zelda are nice but they are not enough. They have less powerful hardware as usual so they need to concentrate on games just as they did in the past. Quit being lazy and get back to work.

DrYnot
DrYnot

Jesus Christ. I have zero interest in the WiiU since I think the Wii is just about the worst goddamned thing that ever happened to videogames, but I've got to say that a company showing an ounce of humility like this is a breath of fresh air considering the recent nonstop barrage of bombastic assholes that think they and their company can do no wrong and it's all the customers' fault for being 'entitled'.

BIOJECT
BIOJECT

If I can play most Wii U games now without waggling a stupid controller I might buy it. So far nothing seems as exciting as the PS4.

bluefox755
bluefox755

Good for them for owning up, not a big nintendo fan, but gotta respect personal responsibility.

joesguy
joesguy

Props to Nintendo for not blaming a recession or a gaming crash. This is why I still buy Nintendo products, they aren't constant dickheads.

civicthong
civicthong

I bought a 3ds bcoz of Monster hunter. I do know there is still some 3ds exclusives which are good. Then i found out about the region lock on my device which is annoying as hell. Wii u, in this situation, it doesn't have many good exclusives and the region locking is non- consumer friendly.  Nintendo, unless you stop this region lock absurdity, you won't even have a slight chance in the next gen console war.

Defender1978
Defender1978

My Nintendo enthusiasm slumped with the Wii.  I loved the Gamecube and the only reason I bought a Wii is because at the time buying a Wii was cheaper than buying a component cable for the Gamecube so that I could play the cube games with progressive scan.  The only games I bought for the Wii are first party titles.  I'd like to pick up the Wii U, but the only game that I want for it is New Super Mario Bros 2 and I already have that on 3ds.

AtariKidX
AtariKidX

Wii U sucks...this is the reason for the poor sales.WiiU is just a XBOX360 7 years later for 350$.Who the hell won't this shit...??You can buy a PS4 for 400$ and the PS4 is a thrue next gen system,have 500HDD,BRayand it is 10times more poweful than WiiU.

midnitereaper
midnitereaper

First day at E3 waiting for west hall to open.  Huge mob formed up in lines.  Special side entrances guarded by security to allow top execs and press into the show early.  What does a group of Nintendo execs do?  Push their way right up the freakin middle!  Nintendo your problem isn't marketing it is your stupid inconsiderate executives who do not observe their surroundings!  Maybe instead of pushing the little guy out of your way, you should stop and ask them how to win their business.

JCASHUFL
JCASHUFL

Oh you're to blame, but NOT for marketing.  The Wii U was marketed a little too well, a last-gen graphics console with a fucking weird controller that no one in their right mind wants to use.  

demiwill2079
demiwill2079

The fear of breaking this expensive tablet like controller is very high and I would not want to pay the $140 to replace it (Be honest who here has not thrown a controller) One of the reasons I cant support this system

BlackSquare
BlackSquare

1) It marketed to people who are not avid gamers. That's great marketing. 2) Bad marketing is naming it almost the same name and making it look very similar. And still market it to non avid gamers. 3) What you think is going to happen? Your target consumers won't even know the Wii 2 is out. 4) Rename the damn thing to the Wii 2 and give it some stripes or something to look different and you will sell a ton more.

M488fox
M488fox

If someone introduced me to the marketing director for Nintendo, and it was a monkey holding a crayola crayon in one hand, and a drawing board in the other. I would have expected worse.  Smh ...

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

@Sn00pyBrown This is not a shit console, just because the specifications dont compete with next gen it does not mean the console sucks. Nintendo has always brought easy going but yet very fun (not to serious games) to the table. They innovated in gaming, and are truly focused more on a gaming console rather than a media unit. Yes it may be old school for some, but in a way, this is a video game console that strays away for the repetitive graphic power of next gen. It focuses on entertainment rather than competition.

cowboysrock981
cowboysrock981

@Sn00pyBrown Because many new Wii U games are much cheaper, and they don't rip you off by forcing you to pay to play online!

chippiez
chippiez

@TransformerRobo  Gutsy?!  What do they have to lose by doing it or not doing it?  If they don't admit it, they call Iwata out of touch, and put him on the chopping block.  If they do admit it, they call Iwata incapable and put him on the chopping block.  He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.  It doesn't take guts when you've nothing to lose. 

Dienheart
Dienheart

@Leeric420 Gimme a "new" good zelda, metroid, couple of great new ips, and nintendo would have my money, but they focused too much on the casual and have lost the hardcore gamers. They should admit that.

chippiez
chippiez

@Gankstar_VX84  It would work just like it did for Sega...

Better to keep your pony in the race but have your pony actually have a value proposition.  Not to beat a dead horse, but Nintendo hasn't had stellar third party support since SNES, because with N64, they decided to stick with the damned cartridge which pissed off every third party at the time as well as every retailer.  (Those were the days when you actually had to preorder if you wanted a game at launch --  After the initial batch sold out, many games would be out of stock for several weeks while more cartridges were manufactured.).  Nintendo, instead of trying to be different for the sake of being different (ooh a 150$ tablet remote !!!) (ooohhh... waggle!!)  should instead focus on what they do best... crank out polished hit after polished hit and for at least a while, to get 3rd parties back, cut the licensing fee per unit in half down to 4$.  And create a machine that is competitive in terms of performance.

chippiez
chippiez

@BIOJECT  Oh yeah.. that PS4 and it's plethora of hits..   DRIVVVVEEEECCCHHHUUUBBB!!

twentymooseman
twentymooseman

@AtariKidX The same people who bought a gamecube with motion controls, old people and parents with small children. Though, they haven't done enough to market to these groups and it could be their undoing if sony or microsoft goes after those markets more aggressively. They also haven't done enough to show that it's an entirely different console. Gamers know it is, but to the casual market, it probably looks like a peripheral rather than a new console.

Ju-noh
Ju-noh

@AtariKidX

Both are next gen but the PS4 is superior in every way.  The Wii U doesn't even have a Blu-Ray player and it's that expensive?  They should have made motion controls optional.

JCASHUFL
JCASHUFL

@demiwill2079 For real, I messed up (still playable, just funked) a few 360 controllers thanks to CoD...

JCASHUFL
JCASHUFL

@M488fox At least monkeys are funny.  Nintendo's last 2 console efforts have just been sad.  

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

@Cozm1kaos @cowboysrock981 I think you guys need to address it in its native language:

Madden cod at frat party, dude bro? Sick Doritos and Mountain Dew! Whoa! Totes broski!

smizzoker
smizzoker

@deliman @demiwill2079 i've thrown a wii controller, forgot that damn wrist strap!!

Ju-noh
Ju-noh

@JCASHUFL @M488fox
The Wii had some amazing games on it.  Metroid Prime 3 was one of the best games that I've ever played.  I'd like to see another Metroid Prime but, this time, on the Wii U.  That would be much better for them to do.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@yoloswagtech but the roughly 20/30GB installs to Steam are SERIOUSLY depleting my harddrive space!!! "CONSOLES DOING WHAT PC'S DEVELOPERS DON'T BOTHER TO DO ANYMORE! MAKE DVD OR BLU-RAY PC GAMES THAT JUST READ FROM 1 DISC, NOT CLUTTER MY HARD-DRIVE WITH 2 DISCS OF UNCOMPRESSED SOUNDS AND TEXTURES!!!"

Seriously R.I.P AAA developers being clever enough to make high quality PC DVD games that can read from the disc and FIT ON JUST 1 DVD So I'm not wasting 30GB each on all these damn PC games I'd like simultaneously install so I don't have to constantly delete them to free up space, them waste another freaking half an hour reinstalling them down the track!!! Every triple A game on PC these days is 2 or 3 discs mostly to fit all the uncompressed textures and sound files and the result is often a slightly higher quality than the last generation or current console counterparts! PS3 Blu-Ray based games pretty much forced the general AAA PC release to ramp up the poly-count and size of basically every game asset and file to ridiculous levels just to compete with Sonys LAST machine. -_- Why is it all about the graphics on PC and no brains anymore?

LE5LO
LE5LO

@yoloswagtech Waiting for the obligatory "buy a bigger Hard-Drive!" comment from someone. -_-

LE5LO
LE5LO

@yoloswagtech By the way...where the hell are the Blu-Ray PC games!? I have a Blu-Ray drive that could likely stream what a game that uses up 3 installed DVD's can, so what's up with that!?