I love Nintendo’s new console, and I hope my enthusiasm for the machine came through in my review. While the rest of us were still on leave, Gavin posted some pretty heartening news about the Wii U’s sales to date, saying that the machine had topped 2 million units sold. It’s obviously not quite doing the brisk business the original Wii did, but that seems pretty decent, right?
Analysts don’t seem to think so.
“Our conclusion is the Nintendo Wii U launch has been slightly disappointing,” Sterne Agee’s Arvind Bhatia said. “Keep in mind investor expectations with respect to Wii U were already fairly low going into the launch.”
Analysts believed it would sell pretty poorly, and it seems to have sold worse than they expected.
Wedbush’s Michael Pachter – a seemingly fervent Nintendo hater – actually puts much of the blame for the gaming industry’s poor holiday season performance on Nintendo’s shoulders. He said the company had an “underwhelming launch” for Wii U and “continued weakness,” blaming the company and general “gamer fatigue” for the downturn.
Even Nintendo’s own Satoru Iwata recently admitted that Wii U sales were “just “not bad.”
“At the end of the Christmas season, it wasn’t as though stores in the US had no Wii U left in stock, as it was when Wii was first sold in that popular boom. But sales are not bad, and I feel it’s selling steadily,” he said.
“It was the first time Nintendo released two models of the game console at the same time … and I believe there was a challenge with balancing this. Specifically, inventory levels for the premium, deluxe package was unbalanced as many people wanted that version and couldn’t find it.”
As I said, I love the Wii U, and I’m pretty hopeful that the system does well enough to garner more 3rd party support than its currently getting. The last thing I want for the system is for it to just become another first-party games machine. Nintendo’s revealed a list of games that’ll be available for the system, and while it’s a decent list, it’s just not enough.
Of the games confirmed for this year so far, this is the handful of exclusive games I’m genuinely interested in :
Lego City Stories
I’ll probably end up getting Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines on the Wii U too.
Nintendo’s been quiet, perhaps a bit too quiet. I hope they turn the volume up for E3, and show us what the system’s really capable of.