Mario Kart 8 could be a "catalyst" for Wii U sales

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently suggested a single game could have a major impact on a system's sales.

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As Nintendo attempts to turn around the fortunes of the Wii U, the launch of Mario Kart 8 later this month could be a "catalyst" for the system, according to the company.

"I certainly feel that Mario Kart 8 can be the catalyst that will broaden Wii U's horizons," said Nintendo UK's Mario brand manager, Roger Langford, in an interview with MCV. "It's very important for us that we have a successful launch and continue the promotion throughout the year and beyond."

Langford discussed the importance of letting people know about all the changes introduced in Mario Kart 8, however minor, in the lead up to the game's release on May 30. "There are lots of tweaks in the game that on the face of it might not sound like much," he said. "But we are looking to seed these bits out to the core Mario Kart fans via our online and social media campaign, and get that word-of-mouth and buzz up to launch. So that when we get to release day, we have the big TV campaign to make the big splash, but also the fans are raring to go."

Along with the new Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8 is one of the biggest upcoming games for Wii U. Nintendo is making a major push with its launch, hoping to not only continue the series' history of strong sellers, but to also encourage sales of the system. Nintendo will offer a bundle that includes the system, the game, and a Wii remote (allowing two-player local multiplayer right out of the box) in both North America and Europe, and is also giving away a free downloadable game for those who buy a copy of Mario Kart 8, which earned an 8.0 in GameSpot's review.

Langford's statement that the game could serve as a catalyst for Wii U echoes a similar sentiment shared by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. During a recent Q&A with investors, Iwata stated, "The fate of a video game system is often influenced greatly by the introduction of a single title." He cited the first Pokémon game on Game Boy as an example of this.

As of March 31, the Wii U had sold only 6.17 total million units worldwide, well short of the 9 million it had hoped to sell in the preceding 12 months alone. (2.72 million consoles were sold during that span.) Nintendo now expects to sell 3.6 million systems during the year ending March 31, 2015. For comparison, the PlayStation 4 has already sold more than 7 million units, while the Xbox One surpassed the 3-million mark in less than two months. Ubisoft expects the two to combine for worldwide sales of more than 30 million units by next March.

At E3 next month, Nintendo won't host a traditional press conference, instead opting for a digital event on Tuesday, June 10 at 9 a.m. Pacific. Despite reports to the contrary, Nintendo insists it will not be showing new hardware at the event, though we will likely learn more about its plans to sell Skylanders-style figurines that make use of the Wii U GamePad's near field communication feature.

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youngzen69

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Mr. Iwata, you and Reggie really made some bad decisions concerning the Wii U. Iwata, what in the world was you thinking when you decided not to include a hard-drive standard with the Wii U? When you decided not to put a headphone jack on the pro controller? When you decided not to make the Wii U powerful enough to handle two tablet controllers at the same time? When you decided not to include blu-ray or dvd support?


Now Reggie, what in the world was you thinking when you came up with the name Wii U? Only coming out with toddler and kiddie Wii U commercials. Which only solidifies people saying that the Wii U is a console solely for little kids. What's up with Wii U's UI? Microsoft and Sony have sophisticated grown up UI's and you Nintendo have Mii Verse. At the launch of the Wii U the cost to buy one was 300.00 to 350.00 dollars without dvd or blu-ray support and without a hard-drive. Why so experience to begin with when your competition have 3x your specs and have the options you lack for just 50 bucks more?


That said, its not the lack of first party titles holding the Wii U back but rather the lack of mainstream gamer support and the lack of third party support holding the Wii U back. That is due mainly to the piss poor hardware design choices made for the Wii U and the piss poor marketing that does nothing to attract anyone over the age of 12 outside of maybe causal cellphone gamers with little kids.

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RyogaRod

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Meanwhile an hour gameplay stream of Watch Dogs generated over 6,000 people listening and nearly 2,000 comments at the time of this post. We are certainly getting Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, but I'm afraid this will be overshadowed by Watch Dogs, and other upcoming games.

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PikachuDude860

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I never thought I'd get this excited for a racing game. I love Mario Kart and all, but I would never normally purchase a system just to play one. After playing this at Wal-Mart today, I would definitely buy a system for this game.


It reminds me of when I bought a Gamecube just for Mario Sunshine. Even my friend, who plays mostly COD and Madden, says he would buy a system just for one, even over a PS4. Whether this "Saves" the Wii U or not, this game will be amazing. That's a fact.

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constantcritic

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The problem I see is that all the Nintendo franchises are stale. That's the problem with many long term franchises like mario and mario kart. Why do I bother getting the new one? Oh, there is a new one? I can't tell/remember the difference.... Exclusive fans will know, but nobody else really cares. Even Zelda, the one with the longer adventure story, was not very well done in my opinion. The action and gameplay were good, but the dialog was garbage, cheesy and forgetful, and lacked any depth or meaning. There are many games that FAR surpass Zelda in this category, but its Nintendo, so it gets more credit than due.


They are dying on all fronts, and may not be able to save their franchises either at this rate, but that's just my opinion.

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Coolspot18

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Same characters, for the past 30 years - it's time for Nintendo to try something new

I refuse to buy another Mario related game.

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plasmatic5

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I think Nintendo generally tries to innovate to change things up so that it doesn't get stale. New levels with new challenges, new power ups, new ways of playing, etc. You play Zelda for the new environments, items, and because you are probably invested in the story. Mario Kart 8's track design looks phenomenal so far (I only played the E3 Best Buy event last year so I can't fully say).


The best way to keep a series from going stale is to keep changing things up. I think overall, Nintendo has managed to do that. Even Pokémon, a series that relies on tradition, changes things up each generation by changing the meta in some important way (IV's, EV's, abilities, new types, etc).

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Dazedman00

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So when a new CoD comes out every 12 months and it's rehashed with some changes to be able to claim its different in some way. It's the same thing you just stated about Nintendo games. So You have no point here.

People buy what they want and I want mario kart, zelda, star fox, smash brothers and all the other great IP that Nintendo has to offer and I'm not alone here. At least 6.17 million others felt the same way. It will only become more obvious that people want nintendo consoles and games still.

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >> It will not become more obvious. The console will die, will be removed from shelves, and Nintendo will exit the console business. Then, and only then, will people's love for Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc expand beyond the limits of what Nintendo consoles can provide. Mario and Metroid in 4K on my PC, please and thanks (preferably before 2016, Nintendo...thanks for listening).

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plasmatic5

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> So graphics are all that matter to you? Art style is far more important anyway.

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constantcritic

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Well, actually I do. That's why I don't bother with CoD anymore. It's the same thing over and over, and the story is stupid short since they want you to play mostly online.


It's not to say those wont' do well, and they will be maybe the best Nintendo does, but they need to grow, not rehash the same thing for eternity. Otherwise, it will be come just another Scorcher 12. Nintendo can do better, but right now, they don't know what to do.

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plasmatic5

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I for one am always thankful for Nintendo changing things up and not being afraid to go against the norm. The PS4 and the Xbox One are essentially the same machine (especially now that Kinect is gone). Yes there are slight differences, but overall, they provide the exact same experience. Then you have Nintendo who want to try new things; they want to experiment and innovate so that they can push gaming forward. And for that, people badmouth them instead of praise them.


Essentially, people are stupid.

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Dazedman00

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They do need to make something new but it can be with the IP the currently have. Most games out now for any system or PC are almost all rehashes of its self or a different game that was successful.

Nintendo is one of te few who will go out of their way to make something different like the wii u but now they are damned for doing it. Yes the name and marketing were terrible but it has a completely new style of play it was trying to bring to consoles like they did with the DS series mobile consoles. Giving you the ability to use the gamepad as a tool inside your gAme. Yes I understand no one has completely untilized this perfectly but I know zeld wind waker did it elegantly!

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deactivated-5d14bade6a0c4

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A single title can be a console seller. Case in point. Halo. But for Halo I would have never bought the original Xbox.

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Congratulations; what platform would you have purchased Halo, on then?

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Dazedman00

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This will absolutely push some consoles. As others have said the number of current and coming exclusives will be the tipping point. I did not care about this and bought mine when wind waker was bundled. That's all I needed and that was wonderful. Mario 3d great again. Plus many of the other titles. Even the gamepad is great to me. I sit on my patio with my coffee and watch the kids play in the pool.

Everyone is going to hate on anything they don't like.

Keep it up Nintendo. Release games and systems. As long as you keep your games coming I will own them.

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >> "Some." The problem is "not enough to be relevant." Every game has undoubtedly "pushed" "some" consoles...that doesn't make this one special. :)

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Dazedman00

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@20yearsgaming I should have been more colorful with my adjective and been a lot more direct. Mario Kart will be the push they need.

In the end I am just a fan and will continue to support nintendo. They have always released too notch software that runs flawlessly on their consoles. Plus I don't enjoy the games I used too anymore. Ps4 and xb1 are all into hardcore swearing with blood, guts and questionable content. I have 3 daughters that don't need be exposed to that.

So again I have to say thank you nintendo for providing my family with fun alternatives to "hardcore" games.

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Dazedman00

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They won't do that because they do not want anyone to own any piece of their IP. Some people need to remeber just because we are America and we always need bigger faster and more faster it doesn't mean the rest of the world follows to this. Look at ps4 is japan. It is, to say frankly, doing terrible. Its beyond what you need in a console. You might as well buy a PC and just enjoy the games there for a more reasonable price and know that you get the games that all ps4 and xb1 gets. Nintendo when you get an exclusive it's means only us will give you this. No one else has this and they will not give that up. As a company they are stable and cash smart.

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >> "Mario Kart will be the push they need. "


a) define that number for us, less "colorfully"

b) no, it will not


"They have always released too notch software that runs flawlessly on their consoles"


They can release software that runs much more flawlessly on One, PS4, and PC, and that's precisely what they'll be doing by 2017 (at the latest).

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MrJskilet

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I think the Wii U would have sold a hell of a lot better if the console launched with Mario, Zelda, Mario Kart, and Smash Bros right from the start. You don't have to rush your developers just hold out on launching the console until you have a strong lineup. When the Wii U launched it's lineup was pathetic more so than the PS4 and Xbox One lineup. I purchased a PS4, will be purchasing a Xbox One when Halo comes to it and I will also purchase a Wii U once the new Zelda is released

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kye-mc

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Wish they would innovate, dont get me wrong I love nintendo but why cant they do something new...

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plasmatic5

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Not sure if serious...

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14monkey

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it sucks how many people hate nintendo,they're the only company that makes good games and don't rushed them

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constantcritic

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Believe me, I want to like Nintendo as I have for decades in the past. It doesn't excuse the dismal effort and that they missed the mark with the Wii U by so great a margin. To me, it feels like they just didn't care with the Wii U.

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> It isn't that they didn't care. It's that they didn't think. Wii was a fad that they got quite exceptionally lucky with (that is all...it wasn't strategy; it was pure luck that the mainstream grabbed ahold of it, given that Nintendo was all but dead in the console game).

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >> No one "hates" Nintendo. They "hate" their weak consoles that lose third-party support.

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corrus

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Really read the posts this game is rushed LOL

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snk0610

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The real console war is between Nintendo and Microsoft for the second place.


Is there any chance Nintendo can boost the sales enough that they will beat Microsoft?


At the moment they sold about 1.5 million copies more.


Maybe with enough strong titles and good marketing they can beat Microsoft for the second place.


We will know soon enough which company will be second at the race.

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >> What are you babbling about? Wii U will be so far behind One by the end of this year that they'll be struggling to stay in third place (competition: unknown); Wii U has been available *much longer* than One. See the problem with your argument?

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snk0610

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>


You don't know that for sure.


At the moment you are correct. the Xbox One sales much faster then Wii U.


Mario Kart 8 However at the moment is the number 1 game at Amazon.


It's outselling Ps4 and Watchdogs with pre orders.


It's very possible that with Mario Kart success and maybe other strong titles


Nintendo might have a chance to compete with Microsoft and Xbox one.


Maybe not.We both don't know for sure at the moment.


As i said before we will know for sure by the end of this year.



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snk0610

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I agree you are right.


The gap is widening at the moment.


However if Mario Kart and the Wii U bundle which has a very big demand


Would push the Wii U sales to being much stronger then how they are right now


Nintendo maybe has a chance to catch up with that gap.


again I said Maybe.


It depends on just how strong Mario Kart sales and other games will be.


You can't predict how strong sales this one game can create.


That's why i said we will know for sure by the end of this year.

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Friend, listen, and try to understand. The gap between Wii U and One sales (not to mention PS4 sales) is widening...not narrowing. Do you understand what this means? Wii U has sold X consoles as of X time in the market. One has been in the market for a far shorter duration, yet has sold nearly as many. By the end of this year, Wii U will be so far into third place that it will no longer be feasible for Nintendo to continue to try to sell it. By the end of 2015, Wii U will no longer be available for sale. See?

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deactivated-5d14bade6a0c4

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<< LINK REMOVED >> I love playing my Wii U, but my PC is better than any console.

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Do you really love playing your Wii U, or are you simply rationalizing its purchase (be honest)? :) Tell me about your PC...GPUs, CPU, etc.

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deactivated-5d14bade6a0c4

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The Wii U is an awesome machine. I have been gaming for 30 years so I don't feel the need to "rationalize" my hobby for anyone.

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locknuts84

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Why wouldn't he? It's actually a great system. I actually agree on both counts though as playing on a PC is better.

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timmerous

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I don't believe in games that magically lead to lots of systems being sold, I think, instead, there is a tipping point where the number of (exclusive) games available justifies the purchase of a console. This will be different for each person (I hit my tipping point around last Christmas) and for some this point will never come (look at the comments and you can see the people who would still not buy the system even if Nintendo announced 30 AAA games at E3).

On the other hand the release of a much loved title could be a catalyst for people to look through exactly what they could get with the Wii U and see there are a lot of great exclusives already released for it making the console purchase a lot more likely. In any event, the release of Mario Kart 8 certainly isn't going to hurt sales of the system

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20yearsgaming

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<< LINK REMOVED >> The problem is that all of these franchises are basically washed up, at this point. New Mario games don't entice, and if they fail to sell consoles (as the most recent Mario game did), nothing else will.

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Tekcor

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It could, I bought my first Pro Controller in preparation. But will it? I'm not so sure.

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lorider25

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I wouldn't get my hopes up Satoru...

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Drkr_Zen

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Its certainly going to be a system seller for me, despite it looking a bit rushed for Summer sales/desperation on Nintendo's part. Seriously... what's up with that battle mode? lol


Either way, you can never go wrong with Mario Kart, except for a few.

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adventuremind

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the best kart game ever...

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Hekteur

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Any link with "Mario Kart 8" on it is a click bait for me. Can't get more hyped and I want my bundle now!

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deactivated-5ae060efb3bf6

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It "Could", but won't.
I could win the lottery, but won't.

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corrus

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<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Yes but not gonna be

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