Nintendo confident Wii U will sell this holiday

Company president Satoru Iwata claims healthy preorder figures for new console indicate system will see strong sales at launch.

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The Wii U will enjoy a healthy launch in North America, Europe, and Australia next month. That's according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who said during a financial presentation that preorder figures for the Wii U make it clear the system will hit the ground running.

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"If you look at how preorders are doing at the moment, it is not an exaggeration to say that Wii U is sure to sell well in this holiday season," he said.

Iwata claimed last week that preorders for the Wii U had sold out at many retailers, with a waitlist for the console at GameStop numbering more than a quarter of a million people.

The executive cautioned that though Wii U sales may get off to a quick start, keeping sales strong into next year is the real task. To maximize the prospect of sales longevity for the Wii U, Iwata revealed that several games that were being readied to be among the 23 launch titles for the system were pushed to 2013 to keep gamers interested. He did not name any of these, and all 23 previously announced launch titles remain on-schedule.

"Nintendo tends to release too many titles at the launch of a hardware system and as a result suffers a drop in new games for quite some time after launch, and for the Wii U launch, we are being very careful not to let it happen," he said. "Fortunately, third-party publishers overseas are launching many titles for us this time, and we were able to push back the release of some of the titles that we had originally intended to release as launch titles until next year."

Another way in which Nintendo plans to bolster consumer interest in the Wii U beyond 2012 is through word-of-mouth. Iwata said when players try out Nintendo Land (bundled with the $350 Wii U deluxe model) he hopes they will be inclined to talk with their friends about the game.

This, combined with a new slate of games launching in 2013, is how Nintendo expects to keep consumer interest in the Wii U after launch, Iwata said. There will be a total of 52 titles available for the Wii U by March 31, 2013, including Pikmin 3, Mass Effect 3, Lego City Undercover, and Rayman Legends.

Iwata also addressed the news that the Wii U will be sold at a loss at launch. He said he does not know at what point in time the new hardware will begin to be sold at a profit, noting that the company's focus is centered on the platform business as a whole instead of just hardware or just software. He said he expects the overall Wii U platform to make "solid contributions" to Nintendo's profits in the next fiscal year.

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