Why Nintendo is failing with the Wii U

Andrew MacGregor

Wii U sales have been slow in the UK. We look at the reasons why Nintendo is failing with the its new Wii U games console


Compared to the previous Wii console, there seems to be a complete lack of buzz around the new Wii U. Console sales are low and this will only get worse when the sales from the early adopters have fallen off. In this article we take a look at where Nintendo have failed with this console.

Unclear Marketing

Wii U GamePadNintendo have a habit of confusing people with their products. Take the 3DS for example. This was a completely new hand-held games machine, yet if you ask most people they just thought it was another DS. The XL versions also seem to confuse people, they're just larger versions of each hand-held, but Nintendo failed to get that message across.

The new Wii U console was quite innovative with its new hand-held GamePad and like all new things, to show how it worked would take some explaining. Nintendo it seems failed to do this. Some people thought the GamePad was the console and the game discs slotted in the side of it. Some even thought it was just another Wii peripheral. The problem was, that early on Nintendo wanted to show off their new controller so badly, they neglected to show the console itself.

If they'd got that wrong, it was no surprise that they'd failed to tell people what the new Wii U could not do. Negative messages are always tricky in any advertising campaign. There were many people that thought the Wii U controller was a portable hand-held games machine. It does after all look like a very large DS. The fact is that the GamePad is not much more than a monitor, the brains of this system are in the console itself. There has been talk of putting mini-games on the Wii U GamePad, but for now you cannot play games on the GamePad without the console nearby and powered on.

Wii U failed to create a Buzz

Nintendo were expecting big things for the Wii U, after all they did sell a huge number of the original Wii consoles. Maybe this is why they went for such a soft launch. Unlike the original Wii console, the Wii U has failed to create a buzz and could have done with a lot more TV advertising. There were also very few demo units in the shops, so people couldn't even tryout the new console. Another reason for the soft launch could be the lack of AAA titles on the Wii U, the TV advert shows a Mario game and nothing else.

They may have been expecting the existing Wii owners to upgrade to the new console, but as they well know, most Wii owners were not really gamers. A lot were attracted to the Wii for fitness reasons, Wii Fit being an equally big hit across all demographics. It's very likely that most non gaming Wii owners still have no idea there is a new Wii console on the market.

Nintendo may have already lost their gaming crowd, as many would have already upgraded to a HD console years ago. The Wii platform has not really offered anything new for the past 2 years.

Wii no Longer a Budget Platform

Fifa 13 Wii UCompared to the Xbox 360 and PS3 the Wii U is a very expensive console with very expensive games. This is a complete about face for Nintendo as for the last 5 years at least they have always offered the cheapest console with the cheapest games.

Probably the first place people will see this new console is in a high street shop like GAME, where they will see the Premium Wii U console priced at £299.99 and the games on sale at £50 and more. This is enough to put most people off.

No name title, The Croods: Prehistoric Party priced at £49.99!

We're not talking about AAA rated titles here, even unheard of games such as The Croods: Prehistoric Party! are priced at £49.99. It's hard to believe that these mediocre games are on sale at £50, when not so long ago AAA rated games like Black Ops were being sold through supermarkets for less than £30. The cheapest Wii U game that GAME have listed on their website is Game Party Champions, the sort of bargain bucket game that would have been on sale at under a fiver on the Wii. The Wii U price is £19.00.

Most 3rd party titles are released on multiple platforms these days, but with the Wii U version of the game costing 50% more than the 360/PS3 version that is yet another reason to avoid the Wii U. Fifa 13 is £29 on the PS3, £18 on the Xbox 360 and a whopping £44.99 on the Wii U.

FIFA 13 Wii U £44.99, more than twice the price of the Xbox 360 version.


Nintendo have failed to create a buzz around the new Wii U console and therefore have not generated mass sales from the old Wii crowd. They've also not explained how the new console works to a mass audience.

Nintendo may have had no choice in pricing the new console at the £300 mark (Premium console), that GamePad screen really does bump the price up, but to price their mediocre games at £40-£50 is just ludicrous and this is where they've really shot themselves in the foot.