Analysis: Wii U Sales Forecast Slashed
Nintendo recently confirmed that they’d be slashing their sales projections for the Wii U for this fiscal year, confirming what many of us knew already: the Wii U is struggling. It’s struggling badly.
It was recently confirmed that the Playstation 4 and Xbox One has both surpassed Nintendo’s machine in terms of sales despite it enjoying almost a years head start on the competition.
Many have speculated the reasons for the console’s struggles, with the most common assumptions being that Nintendo didn’t do enough to differentiate it from the original Wii console and of course, the lack of top quality software.
The latter is an issue that seems to have started to be resolved, with the launches of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Super Mario 3D World in the build up to Christmas. There’s plenty of exclusive content on the horizon to look forward to, including new entries in the popular Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart franchises, but as has too often been the problem with Nintendo, third parties just don’t seem to want to support the console.
What’s the reason for this? I’d speculate that there’s actually two reasons. The first is the small install base. Less consumers lead to less sales so it’s just not an attractive proposition. The second is that the console is so radically different from Nintendo’s competitors, so porting games is difficult both in terms of the machine’s processing power and the additional work that’s required to utilise the GamePad controller.
But what if the Wii U does fail?
Personally, I don’t think it means all that much in the grand scheme of the industry. We already know that the console is going to struggle in terms of sheer sales when compared to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, but Nintendo have another console that’s performing considerably better in their arsenal: the 3DS.
Despite suffering a similarly poor start, the 3DS has really started to take off, not least because of a price reduction and a serious amount of top quality releases over the last year or so. I said that in 2013 the 3DS was the console to own and for good reason. It was the only place to play the likes of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Pokemon X/Y and Animal Crossing: New Leaf and it just keeps going from strength to strength. Can the console carry Nintendo? Well the Game Boy Advance managed a similar feat when the GameCube was struggling a few years back, so I can’t see any reason why not.
Having said that though, the GameCube still managed to shift a few million more units than the Wii U appears to be on course for right now. Is there still time for Nintendo to turn things around? I’d expect so. They’ve been here before with the 3DS, and that’d been written off in a similar way before, but just look how that’s panned out. It could be the company’s saviour. Besides, there’s some awesome looking games headed to the Wii U this year, and some which I genuinely believe will help to shift consoles. It’s always unwise to underestimate the power of Nintendo’s homegrown franchises, regardless of the lack of third party support.
So for now, I don’t expect that we’ll see Nintendo pulling out of the console game and we certainly won’t be seeing Mario, Link and Pikachu cropping up on Playstation or Xbox just yet.
Nintendo’s made a bold statement by slashing their sales forecasts as heavily as they have, but it shows that they’re realistic about the situation and that they’re aware that work needs to be done. It’s a shame that they’ve found themselves in this pickle because the Wii U is a great console in it’s own right, and it’s one that has a ton of potential (as well as some awesome games already) so it’d be a shame to see it continue to receive such negative publicity. Will Nintendo turn it around? That remains to be seen, but they’ve pulled it out of the hat before.