Hello and welcome to The Rundown.
Nintendo released its sales forecast this morning. As expected, things aren’t looking up for the WiiU. At the beginning of the company’s last fiscal year in April of 2013, Nintendo predicted that they would sell nine million consoles in a year.
That was seriously ambitious, especially considering the Xbox One and PlayStation4 were released globally just in time for Christmas. How Nintendo really expected to move 9 million WiiUs is beyond me.
The revised number is 2.8 million. Still sounds like a lot, right? Well...not really. Round that up to 3 million because I’m bad at math. Assume that the WiiU sells at that rate for eight years, which is about the life cycle of a console. Add that to what Nintendo has already sold, and you get a number somewhere south of 30 million. Still, that sounds like a lot!
Yeah, well, the PS3 and 360 have each sold over 80 million consoles so far. And the original Wii sold 100 million. Suddenly, things look much less rosy for Nintendo.
The lack of games has been a real problem for the console, even as it’s entered year 2 of the life cycle. Aside from Mario games - which are great, as they usually are - and other franchises like Zelda, the WiiU hasn’t had much to claim as its own. I mean, to be fair, I’ve been using mine to catch up on all the old Wii games I missed.
Obviously, Nintendo needs to do something to remedy this. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata remains confident that the WiiU will resurge. He’s probably banking on the upcoming titles to really push sales of the console, because right now, there’s not many “gotta have” titles on the WiiU.
There’s a new Donkey Kong coming, which should make good use of the WiiU’s often ignored gamepad, and there’s a new Mario Kart and Super Smash Brothers on the way. Inevitably, those will drive consumers to pick up the consoles - hopefully Nintendo is smart enough to release a bundle or two with these games. Seriously - bundle Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 8 with the system, sell it for $350 and watch the profits come in.
But you say, “Well, yeah, Nintendo has Mario and Zelda but they need something different!” And, well...you’re right. Nintendo needs to diversify its lineup this time around if they want to pull customers back. So, what does Nintendo have to fight with this year? If they want to be successful, Nintendo needs to hype and really push three exclusive titles.
The first is Bayonetta 2 because, uh...boobs. It’ll give the WiiU a mature action game to help shed the kiddy image the system has. Second is a game called X - the spiritual successor to one of the best Wii RPGs - Xenoblade Chronicles. It’s slated to be an adventure RPG but with robots, which is awesome. And if the trailer is any indication, it’ll be a showcase for the console’s 1080p capability.
Third is a series crossover: Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem. Another RPG, I know, but single player games will help attract the dedicated gamers. And like Bayonetta, the presence of Shin Megami Tensei will be a gritty change from the Nintendo norm.
Combine all these with established triple A franchises and maybe a new Starfox game...and suddenly Nintendo might be back in the game.
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