Someone at Nintendo Thought Wii U Would Sell 100 Million Units

"I never made any pessimistic comments."


In September 2015, a report claimed that Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima predicted--before he was named as Satoru Iwata's successor--that the Wii U would "fail." Now, the executive has clarified that, saying he "never made any pessimistic comments" about the Wii U.

During Nintendo's latest shareholder meeting, the English translation of which was recently published, Kimishima cleared things up. "I would first like to clarify my purported comments on Wii U. I do not wish to make excuses, but at the time of the Wii U launch, I was responsible for our sales base in the United States, and I never made any pessimistic comments," he said.

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Though he said he never made any downtrodden comments about the Wii U's viability, Kimishima did make it clear that Nintendo needed to demonstrate the novelty of the system if it wanted to achieve Wii-like success; that system sold more than 100 million units.

"In an internal sales representative meeting, someone projected that we would sell close to 100 million Wii U systems worldwide," Kimishima said. "The thinking was that because Wii sold well, Wii U would follow suit. I said that, since the Wii had already sold so well, we need to clearly explain the attraction of the Wii U if we are to get beyond that and sell the new system, and that this would be no easy task.

"I was responsible for selling the Wii U, and I knew what was good about it, so I talked with those in charge of sales about the importance of conveying the attractiveness of Wii U to consumers," he added. "I am guessing that some of this communication may have come across in a negative tone."

Back in October 2013, Nintendo acknowledged that the company failed to establish the Wii U as a worthy successor to the Wii. By Nintendo's latest count, it had sold 12.8 million Wii U systems after almost four years on the market.

In the shareholder meeting, Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto added that "it is true that we are having a hard time with Wii U sales." He said this is due in part to the system's price and the fact that tablets "are distributed free of charge in the market."

Miyamoto added that he continues to believe that the Wii U is "attractive" and a system that "changes life in the living room."

However, he also acknowledged that the NX faces a "similar challenge" to the Wii U, but it's not exactly clear which of the Wii U's "challenges" he was referring to.

The NX goes on sale in March 2017, though we still no basically nothing about it. The console was not shown or discussed at E3, as Nintendo instead highlighted the Wii U version of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, among other titles. The game is also coming to NX.

NX, which is only a codename, is rumored to be a console/mobile hybrid that uses "industry-leading" technology.

For more on Nintendo's shareholder meeting, check out the full English transcript here and some of our breakout stories below.

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