Like its earlier predecessor the Wii, Nintendo’s new console the Wii U is missing out on the console war shenanigans being encouraged by Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. But not in a good way. Back during its original release of November of 2006, Nintendo’s Wii console took the general public by storm; ultimately selling nearly 100 million consoles worldwide by 2013. Nintendo’s revolutionary console won last generation’s console war hands down, there’s no doubt. So while Microsoft and Sony were squabbling over what market share was left, Nintendo laughed all the way to the bank. However its new little brother the Wii U has been introduced to the world since November of last year to dismal sales figures; only managing to sell 3.5 million consoles so far.
So is Nintendo in trouble?
No. Absolutely not. Albeit their new console is not doing as well as they hoped it would be, and it’s true that the Wii U is definitely not a technological competitor for the PS4 and XBone, but you best believe that Satoru Iwata and his team are still sitting pretty atop all that money the original Wii raked in for them. However, Nintendo is in a bit of a situation here.
The concept of the Wii U was simple: bring core gamers back to Nintendo, an audience which had felt neglected by Nintendo’s last console, and thus spent their money (and took their loyalty) elsewhere. The Wii’s massive popularity with the “casual audience” is coming back to haunt Nintendo’s Wii U big time. But this doesn’t mean the Wii U has succumbed to complete irrelevancy. You’ve got to remember, this is Nintendo we’re talking about. They’ve been in this industry a long time, and they’re not going anywhere.
But still. Here are some things Nintendo may want to consider if they want to salvage the Wii U’s market share, and fast:
- If you can’t beat them, don’t join them: It’s no secret that the Wii U does not have the specs or technical processing power to compete with the PS4 and XBone. My advice? Don’t even try to. Nintendo needs to do what it does best and think outside of the box. Instead of focusing on power and graphics chips, use the innovation and creative edge Wii U brings to the table.
- Stop flip-flopping: The Wii U has a major identity crisis. From the outside, it’s hard to tell if it’s trying to appeal to a casual audience or a hardcore one. My advice? Stick to the casual side of things. The Wii accomplished an amazing task for Nintendo by establishing a massive casual fanbase. Tap into that crowd again, before Microsoft snatches them up.
- Exclusives, exclusives, exclusives: This is the secret weapon Nintendo has up its sleeve. If they want core gamers to start gaming on Nintendo again, they need to hit them where their hearts are: the games. My advice? Give them what they so desperately want. Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pokemon, Donkey Kong, Kirby, StarFox… gamers grew up with these characters, and will always flock back to them. Use that. Slow and steady wins the race – keep pushing out Nintendo exclusives for Wii U, and that’s what will bring those gamers back to you.
- Hype City: It’s hard to get excited about a system that nobody talks about. Personally, I didn’t know anything about the Wii U untill I saw one in a Wal-Mart. My advice? Be excited about your own system! Nowadays you have commercials and ads for Playstation and Xbox all over the place (even for games I’m not even interested in!). Use the media to your advantage, equip your fanbase with information to get excited about and they’ll in turn get their friends excited about it.
Nintendo is not out of the game by any sense of the imagination, they’re not a company you should ever underestimate. Yes the Wii U has been disappointing thus far, but this is an easily remedied situation. Nintendo is the most successful gaming company of all time, and I’m sure they’ll prove it to us again and again sometime in the very near future.
This is an exciting year for gaming.