Wii U 'struggling mightily' says analyst

Cowen & Company analyst believes Nintendo may announce "badly needed" price cut at E3, says gamers should not expect PS4, Xbox One pricing info or used-game details at trade show.

The Wii U is "struggling mightily," according to Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz.

In a note to investors today concerning next week's Electronic Entertainment Expo, the industry analyst said the system has come up short during its first seven months on the market, but noted a "badly needed" price cut and key titles could help turn things around.

"After seven months on the market, Nintendo's Wii U is struggling mightily," Creutz said. "We note that the company has essentially abandoned the field to Microsoft and Sony at this year's E3 as Nintendo will not be holding a press conference."

"However, we do think there is a decent chance that Nintendo could announce a price cut for the Wii U at E3 in an effort to bring attention to the console and boost sales," he added. "We note that the console will have a series of key new games coming out through the late summer and fall, beginning with Pikmin 3 in August. Nintendo's window for igniting interest in its console is closing with Microsoft and Sony's competing machines soon to come to market."

The Wii U has officially sold 3.45 million units across the globe to date.

Creutz also said he believes Microsoft and Sony will not share pricing information for the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 next week at E3, instead leaving those details for later events. He also said gamers should also not expect news concerning used-game policies for both next-gen platforms.

Microsoft and Sony have confirmed that secondhand titles will play on their future platforms, but have yet to give specific information about how this will work. Creutz described Microsoft and Sony's intentions towards the used-game market as issues that are "critical."

He said if Microsoft and Sony do decide to implement a significant tax on used games, they run the risk of damaging GameStop's business model (in turn hurting the broader gaming ecosystem) and seeing "significant gamer backlash" that could hurt sales of new consoles.

"We also believe Microsoft likely knows this…and thus is unlikely to fumble the ball at the 1-yard line on this issue by getting greedy," he said. "However, we suspect they will avoid the issue as much as possible at E3, despite calls from the gaming community for clarity."

In addition, Creutz shared his thoughts on how Microsoft and Sony should market the Xbox One and PS4 during their E3 briefings next week.

On Microsoft:

"Microsoft needs to make its case for the Xbox One to the core gaming community after its initial launch clearly focused on the broader audience for media and entertainment," he said. "While we think pursuing the mass market strategy is correct (Microsoft reputedly hopes to sell 400 million Xbox Ones during its lifetime, more than 2.5x the sales total of the PS2 and 4x that of the Wii), the console still needs to appeal to its core gamer constituency to get off to a good start and generate positive buzz. We suspect Microsoft will not disappoint in this respect."

On Sony:

"In contrast, Sony has focused its early message squarely on the gaming community. Sony's challenge at E3 is simply to reestablish relevance given the decisive lead Microsoft has built on current-gen (at least outside of Japan)," he said. "We also expect Sony to showcase some of the non-gaming aspects of the console; however, the PS4 needs to not come off as 'me-too' relative to the Xbox One."

E3 2013 kicks off Monday, June 10, with briefings from Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Sony. GameSpot will have full coverage of all happenings at the show.

Written By

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

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580 comments
YesSheWill
YesSheWill

I'm excited about next-gen systems as any other gamer, but I need software to justify me going next-gen this year.  Most of the titles that I will be getting have Xbox360/PS3 versions, and my $400-$500.00 seem better spent on just games this year in that regard.

Ryogg
Ryogg

The only reason why the wiiu is having a hard time is sony and microsoft are buying 3rd party rights. And 3rd party companies are becoming more lazier on creating originalatity. Nintendo has gamepad, wiiu remote, nunchuk, balance board, retro controller. What more does a programer need to make options to play a game to make a funner experience to their games?!

ejflex1979
ejflex1979

As a former LOYAL Nintendo Kid growing up and someone who STILL clings to the hope that whoever makes the decisions at Nintendo will cease doing so and restore the company to it's former glory... let me just ask the "fanboys" to PLEASE shut up.  First of all... the name of the console is absolute garbage. It's too "fun fun" and way too cliche.  The name "Wii" was a DISASTER to begin with.  Lets call the revolution... the Wii. BRILLIANT.  Now sure the Wii was a "success" only from the standpoint that like the commenter below stated, soccer Moms and fad crazy people went gangbusters for it... but it was a pitiful failure in every other regard. Twilight Princess, great game... but a day late and a dollar short.  Sorry.  Skyward sword... great game, but again dated graphically. How much JUNKware or whatever it was referred to was out there for the Wii? 90% of the games were garbage. And here we have 2013 e3... and not ever a glimpse of the new Zelda.  Who CARES about Windwaker. I have the game for the gamecube and it looks fine. And plays on both the Cube and my dust collector errrr I mean my Wii. (which I was also forced to buy in white(thanks apple!), because the black version wasnt out 2 years into the consoles release(yes I waited that long to buy the Wii, because I was not thrilled with it) Nintendo is a company that is heading down a black hole.  We live in a technological age, and even YOUNG kids want pretty things, and unless Nintendo drops its arrogance, trust me they WILL go the way of Sega.  Sure they dominate the handheld market, but that will dissipate as well with the powerful smartphones that everyone now has.  The day where a gameboy was the only device you could take around with you to play video games is long since passed. Nintendo... great history... TERRIBLE management.

MacroManJr
MacroManJr

Wii U sucked.  That is all.  I'm tired of giving them my benefit of the doubt. That Nintendo Direct presentation was soooo disappointing.  Nintendo simply has no fight anymore.  They just don't want it.  Never thought I'd see the day I'd generally stop caring about Nintendo.  Sony came in first at E3.  Nobody came in second.

pitblyh
pitblyh

We must not forget the differences between making promises and keeping them. I am not trying to be a pessimist, but Sony and Microsoft have yet to provide us with the console they promised us last night. The Wii U is out and disappointing, because of the lack games, among other things. However, I could easily see PS4 or Xbone coming up short on our growing expectations for a ton of epic games. I think, we have to wait and see what comes of this, before we condemn anyone.

Personally, I want Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to be successful. It means more competition and more gaming options. :)

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

Wii U is a disaster, starting with its name. No really, all of the soccer moms and casual gamers who went gang-busters on the Wii DON'T EVEN KNOW that something called the "Wii U" even exists.

Tip for Nintendo: When you go after a target audience that buys whatever the "fad" is, expect to have "fad" sales (i.e. see a huge spike at first, only to sails flatten out and never seen again).

ryanPwnZzDoA
ryanPwnZzDoA

If you say Wii U is killing Nintendo your wrong! Nintnedo has the 3ds which is selling like hotcakes now!.......Nintnedo is SUPER RICH! it will take way more than one year to ruin Nintendo! especially with a problem that can be fixed with great exclusives and third party support which now we are regaining that support

chocolate1325
chocolate1325

I think if Sony delivers a good conference then the PS4 shall be in very good shape. The Share button sounds really cool. I really think Nintendo is getting a bit desperate with the likes of Mario,Zelda and Smash Bros to be revealed at E3.

MacroManJr
MacroManJr

I don't know about you, but I for one think that Microsoft left the door wide open for both Sony and Nintendo.  Microsoft dropped the ball on this one, if you ask me.  Nintendo's having a tough start, but hey, it's only been about seven months, folks.

Technically, it's been selling better than the PS3 and Xbox 360 both did in the same time frame of their launch.  Things can still pick up for Wii U, provided that they do a price cut, which I do expect, and if they have a solid showing of games.  I think Nintendo has the potential to beat Microsoft in this respect, despite not being "next-gen" in terms of hardware.

"Next-gen" visuals are nice, and I don't blame the people who want them (even I'm interested in a PS4), but I don't think it what matters most--a steady drive of solid titles is what's going to matter more.  To be honest, next-gen actually works against that factor, because these newer games take twice as long to develop now.   Plus, not everyone wants to spend $500 (plus $50 for extra controller and $60 for a game) this holidays.  Making the Wii U about $250 can make it a hot buy with parents this holidays.

I think Sony will steal the show at E3 this year (if they don't manage to screw it up for themselves, that is), but I think Nintendo will have a more interesting showing of games than what Microsoft showed.  Personally, besides maybe Titanfall, nothing the Xbox One offer appealed to me in the slightest.  And I turn to Sony for my double fix of Metal Gear Solid games coming.  But Nintendo's got a few titles coming that have my interest:

* Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (which plays cross-platform with Super Smash Bros. 3DS)
* The Legend of Zelda for Wii U (I don't care about naysayers--it's bound to be good)
* Monster Hunter 4 for 3DS (It looks so good!)
* Xenoblade 2 for Wii U (If it's anything like Xenoblade Chronicles, it's going to be a good game)
* Pikmin 3 for Wii U (It's not for everyone, but I'm a fan of the series)
* Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem for Wii U (anything Fire Emblem, and I'm there)
* Shin Megami Tensei IV for 3DS (Not a fan of the series, but I know the series used to be Sony's territory and now it's a huge exclusive for Nintendo that's already sold well in Japan)
* The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2 for 3DS (Seriously.)
* Bayonetta 2 for Wii U (Haters gon' hate--Nintendo rescued this series from Sega's trash bin)
* Dragon Quest VII for 3DS (a nice remake of one of the best DQ (and JPRG) games ever)
* Watch Dogs (the Wii U just might be the most interesting version, with that GamePad)
* Sonic the Hedgehog: Lost World (It's a 3D Sonic game, but it actually looks kinda decent)
* Shadow of the Eternals for Wii U (the LONG-awaited follow-up to Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem)
* Absolutely anything Retro Studios has to show this year, as they will reveal a new Wii U game this year

That lineup is ALREADY better than Microsoft's showing to me.  The only games I could care about on Xbox One are already coming to PS3/PS4.  And I couldn't care less about Kinect.  Plus, I don't care what anyone says, I want the special-edition 3DS with this sexy design here: http://is.gd/I7u3cx

Now, I don't think Nintendo will be taking any first-place spots with all this.  But I do think they'll have a helluva year better than most people give them credit for, and they'll do better than Microsoft's tepid showing.

sdkingsht
sdkingsht

is it bad that i want Nintendo to go the way of Sega so i can get Zelda titles and Punch Out and Metroid & Burger Time & Mario Kart & Bubble Bobble & the NES Ninja Gaiden games on my Playstation? I can't buy a Wii just for old school games but I'd hit the PSN in a heartbeat for some classic throwback gaming.

Iffy350
Iffy350

Why does this article appear in the Xbox One and PS4 news feed? The Wii U is irrelevant to XBO and PS4. Its irrelevant to people who actually game.

Gamernametaken
Gamernametaken

Right i'm sorry for Nintendo and all that... but i just finished watching Microsoft's E3 and it was a joke and i do mean literally as in they even brought a few EA comedians on stage to present a game that uh needed a pill to get up and going, but of course that is to be expected since this is EA we talking about here lol. On more serious note Xbox did bring one tittle that caught my attention World of Tanks on DVROne should be interesting and the best is yet to come. Sony has really got Microsoft sweating bullets this E3 they even took the last spot just so they can shatter Microsoft's retarded goal of 400mil consoles world wide in like 10years... Watch E3 Gates and learn why you shouldn't compete with Sony ever again. If Microsoft comes even close to PS4 sales this time around i am switching over to DVROne for ever, that's how sure i am it will never happen.... as for those who might confuse facts with trolling  please don't read what i wrote.

gun_blade25
gun_blade25

They need to start supporting 3rd party publishers. I would say that they should release a more powerful console to compete with this coming generation, but considering they just released the WiiU, that isn't very likely. Nintendo can afford to fail this generation but they really need to turn things around.


SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

Sure, but the problem(s) with the Wii U is the same as with it's predecessor:

1) Crap experimental controller, and 2) Outdated graphics tech, which leads into 3) It's overpriced.

Nintendo either needs to come up with fresh ip, OR it needs to pull a Sega and start selling it's cashcows on other platforms.  Better yet... ANNOUNCE THE GAMEBOY 2, it's about time!

buffaloblitz85
buffaloblitz85

If only the WI U had a Kinect it would be # 1 on the market.  How do you think MS got to the top?.... With awesome titles such as Zumba Fitness and Fable the Journey... Nintendo is SO dumb.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

"Sony's challenge at E3 is simply to reestablish relevance given the decisive lead Microsoft has built on current-gen." According to VGChartz, Sony has just finally passed MS in worldwide sales. What you talking about Willis? XD

http://www.vgchartz.com/

voljin1987
voljin1987

yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.. this nintendo is dead article.. again

MagneticFusion
MagneticFusion

They expect to sell 400 million Xbones? ROFLMAO

Nintendo has NO problems at all. They have enough money to wait this out. Just wait and see. When they release Zelda, Metroid and a new 3D Mario (and HOPEFULLY some new IPs) then those consoles will sell like crazy.

Can't forget Eternal Darkness 2 either... Shadow of the Eternals. :)

I loved that Gamecube game.

Oh, and Bayonetta 2.

All consoles take a year or so to get some good titles out.


lost2bfound
lost2bfound

Where are the games!! I bought the Wii U for my daughter who hates the xbox and all its shooters and what not. She gets Super Mario and thats it?? Shame... She has since been playing COD on my 360....

icy1007
icy1007

Why do people keep saying that Nintendo won't be holding an E3 conference? They will still have a press conference. It just won't be at E3. 

Nintendo is doing fine. They won't announce a price drop.

MurphyX500
MurphyX500

I had a Wii U for Christmas! I played it for a month or two but now it is gathering dust. I had it initially to download some old school games like OOT and some old Mario stuff, but my internet connection in my current flat is so shit I cannot connect the Wii U to the internet! Hopefully this will change when I move. I am also hoping for really good new Zelda and Mario titles. 

biglittlejake
biglittlejake

Not sure what some of the best games to you are but to me they are,what the real overall best games are like; Madden, NCAA Football, NBA, NHL, MLB The Show, Little Big Planet, COD, Medal Of Honor, Need For Speed, and Gran Turismo. theblackfrog seems like a Nintendo fan boy, fan boys are the worst. 

SKErwin
SKErwin

" Microsoft reputedly hopes to sell 400 million Xbox Ones during its lifetime, more than 2.5x the sales total of the PS2 and 4x that of the Wii"

They're insane...

kreegan64
kreegan64

 400,000,000 XBone's......................do I even need to say anything?

theblackfrog
theblackfrog

i just say this:

bayonetta 2, xenoblade, zelda hd, wonderufl 101, pikmin, super smash brothers, mario kart. 

other IPs: Metroid, Waverace, donkey kong, fire emblem, luigis mansion, star fox, pilotwings, f-zero, the last story, pandoras tower

yeh looks bad :P

N1ghtjar
N1ghtjar

Nintendo should go the way of Sega and just make games, the console market is killing them

digi-demon
digi-demon

@ejflex1979 Yes Wii was a disaster - its only sold 104 MILLION units in its 7 year life cycle - what a disaster. 

Oh Nintendo you fail.... 

Yes you Sir.... are an idiot - :-)

digi-demon
digi-demon

@pitblyh Yes - Sony NEVER keeps a promise 

eg. PSN is the home of free online gaming - lmao

Emotion Engine - lol, 

CELL is more powerful than god - lol...

PS Move....

digi-demon
digi-demon

@ryanPwnZzDoA WiiU isnt the problem -its all the whinny PS fanboys who are insecure at having the weakest current gen console available - lol

digi-demon
digi-demon

@chocolate1325 Yes, they should have shown many more FPS RPG and Racing games than Sony & Xbox - because thats what all Nintendo fans crave - how foolish of them :P

I mean, FPS - yes, after all thats what sold the NES, SNES, GB, GBA, N64, Wii..... doh

ryanPwnZzDoA
ryanPwnZzDoA

@MacroManJr I own a Wii U, and do agree on the hardware.......but Wii U is a bit to under estimated it still has yet to show what it can truly do. Do i think it is more powerful than Xbox one and PS4...........Hell no, but i sure believe it could pack a punch and surprise us all.

MacroManJr
MacroManJr

@sdkingsht Playing Zelda on a PlayStation would just feel wrong to me.  And seeing Sony stars in a Super Smash Bros. title would kill me.

Personally, I need my Nintendo as Nintendo on Nintendo and my PlayStation as PlayStation on PlayStation.  I need their competition.  I need their division.

Otherwise, to me, it'll start to feel like how when my Facebook friends become Friends with my parents--no, just...no.

phly95
phly95

@sdkingsht I talked to Nintendo and they said that the developers can take better advantage of their consoles. I see their point because the developers are used to coding for PowerPC architecture, which is no longer used in anything else, so first, the devs need to learn a new programming language. I hope they start learning before it's too late.

ryanPwnZzDoA
ryanPwnZzDoA

@buffaloblitz85  Zumba fitness -_- your kidding me! and remeber the gamepad has a camera that someday might be used as a motion sensor

ryanPwnZzDoA
ryanPwnZzDoA

@lost2bfound more games are coming ......a lot more!

ryanPwnZzDoA
ryanPwnZzDoA

@N1ghtjaryour crazy nintnedo has always been successful!..... its not killing them there not scared there rich as shit. this can easily be fixed its nearly the same problem ps3 had when it first launched

MacroManJr
MacroManJr

@N1ghtjarThe best-selling Nintendo 3DS says hello.

It's only been about seven months!  It's still way too early to go spelling doom on Nintendo.  I don't think they'll be taking home first prize this eighth generation, but in case you haven't noticed, MOST people don't give a hoot about Xbox One.  Meanwhile, Nintendo's showing these this year:

* Super Smash Bros. (Wii U) (plays cross-platform with 3DS version)
* Super Smash Bros. (3DS)
* The Legend of Zelda [tentative title] (Wii U)
* Monster Hunter 4 (3DS)
* Xenoblade 2 (Wii U)
* Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
* Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem (Wii U)
* Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
* Pokemon X and Y (3DS)
* The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2 (3DS)
* Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
* The Wonderful 101 (Wii U) (just about the closest thing we have to a new Viewtiful Joe game)
* Dragon Quest VII (3DS)
* Sonic the Hedgehog: Lost World (Wii U; 3DS) (Surprisingly, it looks kinda decent)
* Shadow of the Eternals (Wii U)
* A new game from Retro Studios for Wii U

All of those are exclusives coming to them.  Now, you might not care for many of these titles, but these are pretty solid titles coming to the Wii U nonetheless, many of them being console sellers and best-sellers, and they just might put Nintendo in better placing.

And Watch Dogs on the Wii U just might be the most interesting version, with that GamePad playing in perfectly well with the hacking mechanism in the game.  You never know.

Plus, if Nintendo does a price drop on the Wii U, to about $250 for the low-end model and $300 for the high-end model, it might become a hot buy for parents this holidays.

I'm just saying--it's too early to count them out yet.  The Nintendo 3DS got counted out--it's now the best-selling handheld out there, even in the face of the mobile gaming market.

By the way, Sony lost $5.7 billion last year, their PS Vita is still sinking, and it took them five years to make their first profit on the PS3.  Microsoft lost a about $3 billion on Xbox 360.  Nintendo, on the other hand, looked down and out with the Nintendo 3DS but saved it from the depths of doom.  They're profiting on their 3DS.  That's not exactly "killing them."

ParcoFolgore_
ParcoFolgore_

@N1ghtjar totally agree I would play Super MArio again on One/4 but would never spend money on nintendo U just to play mario :D

voljin1987
voljin1987

@N1ghtjar geez no.. they will release kinect for the ps4.. do we really need that?


kreegan64
kreegan64

 @N1ghtjar This is the first year they've ever lost profit, how is that killing them when SONY if I remember correctly, is just now making a profit on the PS3? Should Sony drop out too?

MacroManJr
MacroManJr

@ryanPwnZzDoA Oh, I definitely agree.  Hell, they haven't even tapped 100% of even the PS3 yet.  Most PS3 games don't even use more than half the PS3's total power, like God of War III, which actually used less than half.  That only speaks to the Wii U's sufficient potential.

icy1007
icy1007

@kreegan64 Nintendo is still the only one making money. Microsoft and Sony are still losing money on Xbox 360 and PS3.

Nintendo is just making less than they used to make.