Nintendo: Wii U on the Brink of Success, No Plans to Drop the GamePad

Struggling platform poised for a 3DS-like turnaround, marketing executive Scott Moffitt says.

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The Wii U is on the brink of success, according to Nintendo of America marketing executive Scott Moffitt. Speaking with GamesIndustry International at E3, Moffitt pointed out that the 3DS also got off to a slow start before Nintendo cut the price and released key first-party games like Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land. The Wii U's situation isn't all that different, he said.

"As I look at what we have coming this holiday, now with Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., plus the innovation of Amiibo, I think we are right at that tipping point where we have a lot of great content that is about to be released for that platform that's going to tempt gamers into buying the system," Moffitt said. "From the comments I'm reading online, and following gamers' comments, I think there are a lot of people that are going to have a hard time resisting buying a Wii U once Smash Bros comes out. I think that's going to be a major hardware driver for us. So that's the narrative we hope that plays out and that I think we are starting to see play out."

"I think there are a lot of people that are going to have a hard time resisting buying a Wii U once Smash Bros comes out" -- Nintendo's Scott Moffitt

Wii U hardware sales have been on the rise since the release of Mario Kart 8 last month, which sold 1.2 million copies during its launch weekend alone. Nintendo also has a new open-world Legend of Zelda game in the works for 2015, another title that would be likely to help sell consoles. One method Nintendo won't employ to boost sales is by unbundling the Wii U GamePad (and thereby presumably lowering the price), Moffitt said.

The Wii U GamePad is the most truly innovative piece of technology released for any of the new consoles, and Nintendo has no plans to abandon it, he said.

"We think GamePad is the only innovation that's come in this new generation of consoles. So we have the only real point of difference," Moffitt said. "Certainly graphics are faster, graphics are better. This is not a real innovation for gamers. We are fully committed to leveraging the GamePad, to keeping it bundled with the system."

This stance varies from that of Microsoft, which--after feedback from fans--started selling Xbox Ones without Kinect last week for $100 less than what the consoles sold for at launch just seven months ago.

Also in the interview, Moffitt broached the subject of third-party support for the Wii U. He pointed out that Nintendo has the support of big-name publishers like Sega, Warner Bros., and Activision, but acknowledged that it's up to Nintendo to drive console sales to encourage more publishers to make games for the console.

"It's all about driving the install base and so that's our work to do, right? We need to get to a critical mass where it makes financial sense for them," he said.

As of March 31, Nintendo has sold 6.17 million Wii U consoles worldwide. The company expects to sell another 3.6 million systems by the end of its fiscal year on March 31, 2015.

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